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Santa Ana foster father accused of sex with adopted children

February 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An Eyewitness News Exclusive: A Santa Ana man in court, charged with sexually abusing two foster children he later adopted. Police say a videotape and photos played a major role in his arrest.

Police allege Felipe Hernandez sexually assaulted two girls, both foster children placed in his care. He and his wife later adopted them.

"He raped them, he sodomized them, just a myriad of charges," said Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna.

Police say they started investigating last month when one of the girls, now 15 years old, told a school counselor. The abuse allegedly took place in Hernandez's Santa Ana home going back to 2006, when she was 9 years old.

Authorities allege a video and photos also show the 66-year-old engaged in sex acts with his 17-year-old adopted daughter, also a foster child. Police arrested Hernandez last month. At the same time they removed three kids from the house, according to Bertagna.

Police say the third child was also a foster kid who the Hernandezes later adopted.

A woman who said she was Hernandez's stepdaughter did not want to be identified. When asked what her mother thinks of the charges, she said she believed the allegations were true.

She would not explain any further, and neither would Hernandez's wife. She left Felipe's court hearing with her other biological daughter who is not alleging abuse. The other stepdaughter says Hernandez never abused her either.

"It's my understanding that as of 2012 this particular family was no longer allowed to be foster-care parents," said Bertagna.

Asked if the Orange County Social Services Agency was aware of any complaints before last month, director Dr. Michael Riley said: "We cannot talk specifically about any particular case because welfare institution code forbids us to do so.

"If it's substantiated sexual molestation or sexual assault, the child is almost always removed," said Riley.

Riley says monthly visits are done to monitor children in foster homes. In this case monitoring would have ended in 2008 when the girls were adopted.

Police say while Social Services is investigating, detectives are trying to determine whether Felipe's wife should face charges.

Hernandez remained in jail, held on $100,000 bond.

Orange County Children and Family Services has a 24-hour hotline to report child abuse: Child Abuse Registry Hotline at (800) 207-4464.

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