As a youth sports coach, Cameron Joseph Baca liked to befriend South Orange County moms and dads as a way to get close to their male children and then sexually abuse the youngsters.
Baca was brazenly good at his crimes.
Without parents suspecting, he managed to separately abuse at least three boys--ages 11, 12 and 15--from January 2006 to December 2008.
Baca's MO was always the same: Get the boys alone, make initial physical contact with seemingly innocent hugs, show them pornographic movies and then begin touching them sexually--even pushing for oral sex and digital penetration.
Eventually, parents figured out something was awry and contacted police, who found in Baca's home more than 500 videos of little boys being sodomized by adults, according to court records.
The cops secretly recorded a call between one of the boys and Baca, who unwittingly admitted to illegal sexual contact.
After his 2010 trial, an Orange County jury sided with prosecutors and convicted him of 15 felony sex crimes. Superior Court Judge David A. Thompson sent him away to prison.
But Baca appealed, claiming that one count was ridiculous--an attempted lewd act by holding one of the boy's hands in a car. How could hand holding give "immediate sexual gratification"? he asked. He also complained that his punishment is cruel--"a shock to the conscience" and "grossly disproportionate," especially because he had no prior criminal record.
On June 29, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana told Baca that his jury had been free to interpret the hand holding as a sex act because the law states that gratification can come from contact with "any part" of the kid's body.
The justices also rejected the cruel punishment cries.
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"Baca's offenses were not merely passive felonies such as failing to register as a sex offender or uttering a 'no account' check," wrote Justice Richard Aronson in the opinion. "Rather, he committed 15 criminal offenses, including multiple lewd acts on children under the age of 14, exhibiting harmful material to minors and possession of child pornography. His offenses spanned several years and involved multiple victims. As the minor victims' sports coach and family friend, he took advantage of the trust these boys placed in him."
Aronson also called the molester a future danger to little boys.
Upshot: Baca, 31, will continue to serve his whopping 51-year prison sentence at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County.