Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 6:01 pm | Fair 58º


Suspect Confesses to Molesting Girl as ‘Payback,’ Police Say

40-year-old Santa Barbara man tells officers he was molested as a child

A Santa Barbara man admitted to police after he was arrested Sunday that he molested a 5-year-old girl in his home as “payback” for his own history of being molested as a child.

Jose Vazquez Prestegui
Jose Vazquez Prestegui

Jose Vazquez Prestegui, 40, of Santa Barbara, is facing charges of committing a lewd act on a child younger than age 14, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department

Police officers responded to an Eastside home around 3:30 p.m. Sunday after the caller reported a child had been molested. The incident was reported to have occurred at Prestegui’s home, which he shared with several families.

When three officers arrived at the scene, Prestegui fled from the house but was located at a home in the 400 block of North Voluntario Street a short time later, according to Harwood.

He said a 5-year-old girl was visiting a friend who lived in the home and had wandered into Prestegui’s living area during a game of hide-and-seek. The girl began watching television with Prestegui, who allegedly fondled one of the victim’s intimate body parts through her clothing.

The victim told her 17-year-old cousin, who alerted adults who were also at the residence.

Prestegui was confronted by one of the adults about the child’s allegation, and the police were called.

Prestegui was arrested and transported to the police station, where he was interviewed by Crimes Against Persons Detective Brian Larson. Harwood said Prestegui admitted to molesting the girl, stating that it was “like payback” for when he was molested as a child.

Prestegui was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail. His bail was set at $100,000.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >