An Orange County Superior Court judge, who previously faced an ultimately unsuccessful recall campaign over what was perceived to be the light sentence for a convicted child molester, warned the defendant Friday that he will get the maximum 25 years to life in prison when he returns to court in January.
The Brea Police Department and Orange County district attorney’s office are seeking potential victims of a foster youth law center case manager who allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old dependent minor and bribed her into recanting her statements.
Meanwhile, the Fullerton Police Department has brought back from Texas a 51-year-old man who is accused of molesting a girl under age 14.
Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto, 22, of Santa Ana, initially had 15 years shaved off his sentence by Judge M. Marc Kelly in 2015, a move that sparked a national outcry and the recall campaign. On Friday, Kelly agreed to give court-appointed defense attorney Melani Bartholomew more time to pull together information on Rojano-Nietio’s background—while at the same time making it clear that her client can expect the maximum sentence in a hearing now set for Jan. 12. In December 2014, Rojano-Nieto was convicted of sodomizing a three-year-old female relative, but in the original sentencing hearing Kelly found 25-years-to-life was “cruel and unusual” because the then-19-year-old apparently realized what he was doing and stopped. Meanwhile, Hizzoner found the child did not suffer “serious violent injuries” and admitted he was sympathetic to the parents of the molester and the victim who wanted to prison timeEarlier this year, a state appeals court overturned the sentence, and ordered that Rojano-Nieto be returned to Orange County to be re-sentenced to at least 25-to-life, something Kelly told Bartholomew he is now compelled to order by law. Rojano-Nieto’s attorney says the additional time will allow her to gather information that could help her client when he eventually faces a parole board.
Morris Leroi Brinker III, 31, of Corona, was charged in July with felony unlawful sexual intercourse, dissuading witness from reporting crime and bribery of a witness with prior prison convictions for second degree robbery and shooting at an inhabited dwelling in San Bernardino in 2005. A conviction could send him to state prison for 14 years and eight months. He was employed as a case manager with the Children’s Law Center of California, whose staff represent foster children who have been abused or neglected and are involved with the Los Angeles County Dependency Court systems, when he received the case of the 16-year-old girl. He is accused of having had unlawful sex with her on June 29 in a Brea parking lot before the incident was reported to that city’s police detectives, who investigated and arrested Brinker at his home in Corona on July 3. After he posted bail and was released from custody, he allegedly dissuaded the girl from testifying and attempted to bribe her, which led to Brinker being arrested again on July 17, this time in Fullerton. Investigators for police and prosecutors believe there may be other victims, who could potentially lead to more charges against Brinker, and anyone with additional information or who believes they may be a victim is asked to contact Brea police detectives at 714.671.4438. Meanwhile, Brinker was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Friday in Fullerton.
Gabriel Contreras Andrade was extradited last week from Amarillo, Texas, which is where he allegedly fled to after being identified by Fullerton cops in the sexual molestation of a young teen girl. The probe began Oct. 11, when police were informed of a possible child molestation. Around that same time, 51-year-old Fullerton resident Andrade allegedly changed his cell phone number and fled Southern California. But he was picked up a day later driving through Amarillo, where Texas Highway Patrol say they spotted, stopped and arrested him. He was extradited back to Orange County on Oct. 24, and he was booked into Fullerton City Jail on suspicion of committing lewd acts with a child under 14 years of age. As in the case highlighted earlier, police believe there may be other victims of Andrade, and anyone with helpful information can contact Fullerton Police Sgt. John Ema at 714.738.6580, Detective Dan Diaz at 714.738.6769 or leave an anonymous tip at 855.847.6227.