Alleged victim of man arrested by Santa Ana police on suspicion of child molestation speaks out

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Santa Ana police have arrested a man they believe sexually molested three sisters when they were children.

Jesus Heras Garcia, 55-years-old, was arrested in Las Vegas on Sunday and brought back to California to face charges.

"They found out that there were two other cases that we currently know about, one in Placentia and one in Riverside," said Santa Ana Police Department Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

The alleged victim from the Placentia case spoke to Eyewitness News.

Shawny, as she asked us to call her, does not want to be identified. She said Garcia abused her when she was 16 years old after his family came to live with hers after they fell on hard times.

He was a trusted friend. His daughter like a sister.

"The touching started when I was asleep and his daughter was right next to me sleeping. The second time it happened again, I fell asleep watching a movie again with his daughter right next to me sleeping," she said.

It was after that second alleged encounter that she and her mother went to the Placentia Police Department and reported Garcia. But she said she learned a year later the case was closed and chalked up to child annoyance.

"The justice system failed me," she said. "It is hard enough to speak out and to have the courage to say something."

The now 25-year-old moved on with her life, but a few months ago she learned Garcia was under investigation after Santa Ana detectives contacted her regarding the three sisters.

"Last December, we had three sisters who came forward with allegations against our suspect," Bertagna said.

The sisters now in their late teens and 20s claim Garcia befriended their family when they attended Casa de la Vida church in Corona.

"Apparently he was a volunteer or worker at a church in the city of Corona. This is often what child abusers, pedophiles do, they look for access to children," Bertagna said.

Shawny said the statute of limitations in her case has run out, but her story is helping detectives build their case against Garcia and encouraging other potential victims to come forward.

Garcia is in the Orange County Jail on $2,000,000 bail.

Santa Ana detectives are asking anyone who believe they may be a victim to contact them at (714) 245-8368.
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