GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) --The legal guardian of two children who were allegedly forced to have sex by their caretaker opened up to Eyewitness News on Wednesday in an effort to help the kids and share their story.
Prosecutors call it a heartbreaking case of alleged child sex abuse. ABC7 was using different first names to protect the children's identities.
"They weren't acting right," recalled 40-year-old Mark Sanchez, who became the kids' guardian. "Children who go through these types of things do act out on each other."
Sanchez, who reached out exclusively to ABC7 by using #abc7eyewitness, said the two brothers and their sister slowly revealed the allegations once they were placed in his family's care.
"We had to gain their trust and it just came out slowly," he said. "One thing led to another, and that's how we found out and took action."
Sanchez went to police, and an investigation led to the arrest of 40-year-old Brandi Valadez.
Prosecutors allege she threatened a then 9-year-old boy, who we're calling "Ray," to perform sex acts on 6-year-old "Leanne" - or face being placed in a tub of hot water.
Prosecutors also suspect Valadez did nothing to stop 12-year-old "Phil" from molesting "Leanne."
Valadez, herself, is also accused of sexually assaulting the little girl. Authorities allege it happened in Orange County motels over several months in 2014.
In order to protect the children's identities, prosecutors aren't saying how Valadez knew the children.
Sanchez and his fiancé, who already have six kids of their own, took in the three children and their 17-year-old brother a year ago.
"They're adjusting really well," said Sanchez. "They're playing, going to school and things are getting better for them."
He said the county pays for the children's much-needed counseling, but other things like toys, extra clothing and money for sports could help the kids be kids.
"When we got them, they had nothing. They had just what they had," said Sanchez.
"We don't have any extra money. I'd really like to get them the things they need. I'd like them to have a good Christmas," he added.
Sanchez has set up a GoFundMe page.
"These kids have been through such hardship that anything that is given they would probably appreciate that," the legal guardian shared.
Sanchez said the children know Valadez is now behind bars.
She's being held on $1 million bail and is expected to make her next court appearance Nov. 4.