Monday, February 19 , 2018, 2:49 am | Fair 48º


Local News

Man Gets 20-Year Term for Molesting Lompoc Teen He Met Online

Saul Padilla
Saul Padilla

A Corona man is headed for a lengthy prison term for molesting a 14-year-old Lompoc girl he stalked on the Internet, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Saul Padilla, 48, pleaded guilty to multiple sex crimes in exchange for a sentence of 20 years in state prison, said Deputy District Attorney Brooke Gerard.

Padilla was arrested by Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies on Jan. 8, 2012, in Vandenberg Village, after a 3 a.m. traffic stop.

The girl was in the car with him, and later testified that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by Padilla, Gerard said.

Subsequent investigation revealed that Padilla first made contact with the girl two years earlier by posing as a 15-year-old boy in the Disney online game Club Penguin.

“Over the following two years, the relationship developed to the point that the defendant began visiting the girl in Lompoc without her parents’ knowledge, persuading her to skip class and meet him to engage in sexual activity, all in violation of the law,” Gerard said.

Padilla is due in Superior Court in Santa Maria on May 8 for sentencing.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

  • 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 >

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

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 >