A 37-year-old registered sex offender and a 43-year-old unregistered one entered guilty pleas in separate cases last week.
Christopher A. Brown copped Thursday to five counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object of an underage victim, five counts of oral copulation of an underage victim and counts each of using an underage victim for obscene matter, possession or control of child pornography and lewd acts on a child 14 to 15 years old. The Orange photographer, who also taught child tumbling classes, faces 12 years and eight months in prison at his Feb. 17 sentencing. He could have received 16 years had he been convicted at trial.
Working out of studios and other locations in Irvine, Huntington Beach and Los Angeles between June 2014 and August 2015, Brown lured 15- and 16-year-old girls with the promises of modeling contracts before sexually assaulting the pair. Child pornography authorities seized at an Irvine hotel Brown was staying in included images of those girls and others he never met. The sheriff's department says Brown was deemed a sex offender in Virginia in 2005 but that he never registered as required when he moved to California years ago.
Stephen Ponte Garcia was immediately sentenced to three years in prison last Tuesday after he copped to two felony counts of indecent exposure with prior convictions stemming from incidents on Sept. 28 and Oct. 5. In September, sheriff's deputies assigned to the Orange County Transportation Authority Right of Way team got a tip that a man was exposing himself to females on municipal buses. That sent investigators to their computers to check surveillance video, which revealed this …
Garcia, a registered sex offender with a long criminal history, was taken into custody in October on an arrest warrant issued after a three-week probe. All tolled, he exposed himself at least four times on buses in the northern Orange County, according to sheriff's investigators, who discovered Garcia generally sat in the back of buses before flashing female riders. He's already been labeled a high risk sex offender with indecent exposure cases dating back a decade. He'd also been picked up in the past for petty theft, possession of controlled substances and parole violations, while misdemeanor counts of lewd conduct in a public place and loitering where children were present were dismissed as part of a plea deal in one past case. That conviction included an order to register as a sex offender for life.