A jury convicted a Santa Paula man Thursday of 10 felony charges related to the sexual abuse of three young girls between 2003 and 2015, authorities said.
Juan Benito Rueda, 50, was found guilty of nine counts of committing a lewd act on a child under 14 years old, as well as committing lewd acts on multiple victims, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.
The conviction was made possible by the courage of the victims, prosecutors said.
“After his arrest in February 2018, Rueda repeatedly sought to dissuade the victims and witnesses from speaking in court,” according to the statement. “However, despite his efforts to intimidate the victims, each of them came forward and testified during the trial.”
The investigation began in October when the first of three victims reported the abuse to the Simi Valley Police Department, officials said. She told investigators that Rueda had molested her repeatedly in his van and in his bedroom between 2006 and 2007, when she was 5 years old.
“Two additional victims came forward with information that Rueda had molested them numerous times between 2003 and 2015, when they were between the ages of 4 and 13,” the District Attorney’s Office statement said.
Rueda faces up to 135 years to life in state prison when he returns to the Ventura branch of Ventura County Superior Court for sentencing on Jan. 3, officials said.