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DA: Salinas man sentenced to prison for child molestation after cover-up, escape to Mexico

rene cruz
Monterey County District Attorney's Office
Rene Cruz

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said 48-year-old Rene Cruz will spend the next 26 years and 8 months in prison as part of a plea agreement for a 2012 child molestation case.

In 2012, parents brought their 11-year-old daughter to the Salinas Police Department to report that the husband of the woman they paid to babysit their daughter molested her several years earlier.

Police contacted the babysitter, Nelida Gaytan, who denied that Cruz lived with her or was the father of the children there. When police left, they said Gaytan left the home with her children and did not contact police until several weeks later. She was prosecuted for being an accessory after the fact and was convicted of obstructing or delaying a peace officer.

Cruz turned himself in, but posted bail and was released. After that, he did not appear at his scheduled jury trial and an arrest warrant was issued.

In May 2018, the FBI found Cruz in Mexico using an alias. He did not exercise his Mexican citizenship and was deported to the United States. He has been in custody since his return. The DA's Office said he was accused of similar conduct in Mexico, but it was not proven.

Cruz and the District Attorney's Office negotiated a disposition, and Cruz agreed to a stipulated prison term of 26 years and 8 months.

He was convicted of four felony counts, and all of them are considered strikes under California's three strikes law. He waived all appellate rights and will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Crime / Monterey County / Salinas / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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