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Salvador Moreno Mojarras Jr.

Mojarras Jr.

A man who pleaded guilty in October to molesting young children at his wife's Lompoc day care center 2015 was sentenced to 36 years in state prison Thursday, following a series of emotional victim impact statements. 

On Oct. 30, defense counsel and the prosecution reached a settlement in the case involving Salvador Moreno Mojarras Jr., 60, who was about to go to trial at the Santa Maria Superior Court.

Mojarras Jr. pleaded guilty to three felony counts of child molestation -- one count of oral copulation/sexual penetration with a child under the age of 10 and two counts of lewd acts upon a child. He also admitted to the special enhancement of committing the acts with three children. As part of the agreement, 12 remaining counts were dismissed. 

Mojarras Jr. was arrested by Lompoc Police in August 2015 at his home at 1700 E. Nectarine Ave., which is where the day care, called Mojarras Family Child Care Center, was being operated. A young girl reportedly came forward about the abuse to the staffers at the day care; following Mojarras' arrest, two more victims came forward. 

All three victims were present with their mothers Thursday afternoon, when they delivered statements and questioned why Mojarras Jr.'s wife was not being sentenced as well. 

The victims ranged in age from 3 to 11 during the incidents, which occurred between January 2004 and September 2014. 

"What you did to me will never bring me down because I'm strong," Jane Doe No. 2 said to Mojarras Jr., who sat next to his attorney Gary Dunlap. "You deserve to be put away forever."

"It hurts a lot because you were like family," Jane Doe No. 2 added. "We called you grandpa because we saw you as one. You made me feel like it was all my fault." 

Jane Doe No. 1's mother, Vanessa Vildosola, rebuked Mojarras Jr. for hiding behind his Christianity while threatening to kill her daughter if she were to ever tell anyone on him. 

"This man was in my prayer group every Monday. I was disgusted with myself because there were times I'd pray for Mr. Mojarras' hands, as he had arthritis," she said. "I asked God to heal the same hands that held a knife to my daughter's throat, the same hands that abused my child."

Vildosola added she hasn't worked for more than two years and cannot hear the words "day care" without cringing. 

"It gives me extreme anxiety to have to put my kids in day care," she said, "so I'm scraping by with what I have now, but at least I know my kids are OK." 

Jane Doe No. 1, the youngest victim and first to come forward to police, also had a chance to address Mojarras Jr. 

"This made me feel like it was my fault, but it's not," she said. "He affected me in a way that anywhere I go, every stranger I see, I don't feel safe. I hope no other girls have to go through this."

"Your wife should go in there with you because I believe you weren't the only one who knew about it," Doe added. "I'm glad I stood up for what is right." 

Jane Doe No. 3 also spoke to Mojarras Jr., telling him he "took something from me that I could never get back." 

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He'd say things like, 'God told him to do it,' or that he did it because 'I love you,'" Doe sobbed. "I kept it inside for 10 years, and every day of those 10 years ate at me. When I heard there were two other victims, I knew I had to come forward."

Following the statements, Senior Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens called the case "incredibly emotional."

"I cannot come up here and add anything to what the victims have gone through and what they expressed today," said Jebens, adding there's not doubt there were multiple victims. 

"It is my belief Mr. Mojarras absolutely deserves his 36 years to life in state prison," he said.

Dunlap also addressed the court, stating that his client wanted to "express that he's grossly sorry," knew that he was responsible and was ready to "surrender the rest of his life to incarceration.

"He does feel very remorseful," Dunlap said. 

After handing down the sentence, Judge John McGregor also addressed Mojarras Jr. 

"There's nothing I can say that hasn't been said today, other than the offenses you committed are worth spending your life in prison," he said. 

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


Courts/Public Safety Reporter