A former Carpinteria resident who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his young granddaughter will spend three years in prison after being sentenced this week in Santa Barbara Superior Court.
Michael Norris, 68, formerly of Carpinteria, was sentenced to three years in prison on his conviction of one count of child molestation involving his granddaughter, who was 6 years old at the time the crime occurred in 2003.
An investigation began in February 2012 involving allegations that Norris had sexually abused a minor while he lived in Carpinteria, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
Norris had moved to the farm town of Quepos, Costa Rica, in 2006, and a warrant was issued for his arrest in December 2012.
When Norris learned of the warrant, he agreed to return to Santa Barbara County and negotiated his surrender with sheriff’s investigators.
The arrest was a coordinated effort between investigators from the sheriff’s Felony Fugitives and Criminal Investigative Divisions and U.S. officials in Costa Rica who assisted in monitoring Norris’ whereabouts and ensuring he boarded the plane, the sheriff's department stated.
Norris was initially charged with multiple counts of child molestation, but prosecutor Ben Ladinig said that some of the dropped charges were alternative ways to charge the same incident.
"This is a strike offense that requires lifetime sex registration," he told Noozhawk.
Norris' sentence can be extended by the Department of Corrections and he will be on parole for an additional seven years, he added.