Convicted sex offender Miguel Angel Pineda, 25, of Huntington Beach has been accused of molesting three more children. Pineda met the elementary school children through a Boys & Girls Club literacy program in Santa Ana. He will now face new criminal charges for the attacks.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Pineda was charged with nine felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child involving children who were 7 or 8 years old. He met the children while working with the Boys & Girls Club, according to officials.
Pineda previously served a year in jail after pleading guilty to molesting another student he met through the same program at a different school. After his conviction for that crime, the three additional girls stepped forward. Prosecutors say Pineda met the three children while reading to them at Washington Elementary School in Santa Ana as part of the Boys & Girls Club Literacy Program in 2017 and 2018.
These latest charges are another tragic chapter in the shameful history of Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) sexual abuse. Although the BGCA has helped youth here in California and across the country, the organization also has had a problem with the sexual abuse of its youth by staff. Like many institutions of trust serving children, the BGCA relies on adult volunteers in addition to its paid staff. As we can see in this case, this opens the door to child sex abusers who exploit the club’s access to children.
It’s a well-documented fact that child sex abusers use organizations like the BGCA because of their proximity to children. Children are more vulnerable in general, but many of the ones served by the BGCA come from broken households with absentee parents. This makes it much easier to groom these children and, ultimately, abuse them.
Grooming is a process by which abusers engage in deliberate and calculated efforts to gain the trust of children, as well as parents and other adults around them. These efforts are aimed at getting the children alone so a sex predator can abuse them. While it’s not yet clear whether Pineda used grooming to access his victims, the facts so far seem to point in this direction.
“[N]ow these children must live the rest of their lives with the fear that someone who should have been there to help them instead robbed them of their innocence,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. That’s not all the victims will face in the future. Child sex abuse victims frequently need counseling, therapy, and mental health assistance to cope with the physical, emotional, and mental trauma they experienced.
The victims’ parents may have the right to take legal action against the BGCA. If evidence emerges that the BGCA turned a blind eye to credible accusations regarding Pineda, there’s a strong likelihood the organization will be held liable for what happened to these little girls. The same is true if the club failed to conduct proper background checks or take other reasonable steps that could have prevented the abuse.
If you or someone you love were sexually abused as a child, you may have a civil legal claim for compensation. Call attorney Paul Mones today to learn more.