A 65-year-old Anaheim man was sentenced Friday to 80 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting two underage girls in separate cases dating back to 1998.
Jose Luis Gonzalez was convicted June 7 of six counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14 and four counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, all felonies.
Co-defendant Benjamin Avila, 30, of Anaheim, pleaded guilty in April 2015 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Avila attempted to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in Gonzalez’s trial, but the judge ordered him to answer questions in testimony since he had already pleaded guilty in the case.
After Gonzalez and Avila were charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year- old girl who attended Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, investigators were able to track down a police report of an Anaheim case in which Gonzalez was accused of molesting a 7-year-old girl, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll.
The case involving the 7-year-old was not filed at the time, but became relevant when Gonzalez was accused again, the prosecutor said.
In the more recent case, Avila and Gonzalez found the 13-year-old online and the two of them had sex with her multiple times between March and September 2013, he said. After the girl told friends at school about Avila, they told their parents, Carroll said.
It was one of those “concerned” parents who told a school resource officer at Trabuco Hills High in October 2013 about an “inappropriate relationship” between the 13-year-old girl and Avila, according to Orange County sheriff’s officials. The girl subsequently told investigators she had an ongoing “sexual relationship” with a “boyfriend” named Alex Valesquez, who authorities later determined to be Avila. The girl told investigators she also had sex with another man, who she knew as “Alex’s uncle,” who was later identified as Gonzalez.
Gonzalez sexually assaulted the Anaheim girl over about a two-year period starting in the spring of 1998, Carroll said.
–City News Service
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