Sideshow Bob Ornelas Gets 190 Years in Federal Pen for Sex with Little Girls

Robert Ruben "Sideshow Bob" Ornelas
Robert Ruben "Sideshow Bob" Ornelas
Orange County Sheriff's Department

The Phil Spector of pedophiles (based not on his Wall of Sound but his hair in a police mugshot) was recently sentenced to 190 years in federal prison.

Robert Ruben Ornelas, 66, of Santa Ana, was sentenced to 2,280 months behind bars by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney in Santa Ana.

Ornelas, a onetime Santa Ana teacher, was convicted of traveling to the Philippines to engage in sex with two little girls and producing videos of the abuse.

Specifically, a federal jury in November found him guilty of two counts of engaging in sexual conduct in a foreign place, three counts of producing child pornography and two counts of possessing child pornography.

Carney justified his harsh sentence by saying molestations had been done in a “cruel manner” and that Orenlas demonstrated complete disregard for his victims’ humanity.

In 2006, 2008 and 2012, Ornelas sexually assaulted two girls who were as young as age 8 in the Philippines, took videos of the molestations and brought the child porn back to the United States. An investigation began after Ornelas' brother, Russ, who suspected Robert was stealing money from their mother, searched Robert's computer, found the child porn and contacted authorities. The girls Robert Ornelas molested came to the U.S. to testify against him.

At sentencing, one Ornelas victim said, "He destroyed my dreams.”

“Today’s sentence ensures life imprisonment for this predator whose history of abusing minors began a half-century ago,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “For seven years, this defendant repeatedly travelled to the Philippines, where he paid family members for sexual access to little girls who were living in poverty. The defendant claimed to be an attorney and promised to help the victims by funding their educations, but he brought trauma and anguish to their lives for which no amount of money could compensate.”

While the long prison term ensures Sideshow Bob Ornelas will prey on no more children, it's unclear how many kids he victimized. Sentencing documents indicate his history of sexually abusing minors extends back to the 1960s. A separate state case alleges Ornelas molested a female relative age 4 or 5 and that he victimized 10 children. Then there is the opportunity for more: He worked in or near an unlicensed day care by his Santa Ana home in the 1980s and early 1990s, was a teacher in the Santa Ana Unified School District from 1992 to 2003, and he coached a local girls softball team.


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