Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 6:57 pm | Fair 75º


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Lompoc Man Faces More Than 100 Years in Prison After Conviction on Molest Charges

A Lompoc man found guilty on 10 felony counts of child molestation on Wednesday, and now faces a prison sentence of more than 100 years behind bars.

After more than a day of deliberations, a Santa Maria Superior Court jury returned the verdicts against Jesus Buenrostro, 50, ending the trial that began with testimony three weeks ago.

Buenrostro was arrested by Lompoc police in August, and faced 10 charges related to incidents between 1997 and 2014.

The eight women and four men making up the jury found Buenrostro guilty of seven counts of aggravated sexual assault, plus three counts of lewd or lascivious acts.

The victims in the case were two generations of the defendant’s female relatives.

During opening statements, Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Savrnoch said Buenrostro molested five girls, some of whom are now adults, including having vaginal and anal intercourse and oral sex with them.

The defendant reportedly threatened to harm three of the girls and their mother “to get them to do what he wanted them to do,” Savrnoch said.

But defense attorney Lori Pedego tried to raise doubts about the victims’ allegations, noting they recanted and changed their stories several times.

She also called an expert to testify about the role of suggestibility when interviewers ask leading questions of young sexual abuse victims.

Judge John McGregor ordered Buenrostro, who remains in custody, to return to court Feb. 23 for sentencing.

He reportedly faces a 10-year determinate sentence plus 105 years to life in prison.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

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