A settlement was reached Monday in the case of a man accused of molesting children at his wife's Lompoc day care center in 2015 — he will be sentenced in December to 36 years to life in prison.
The agreement was reached just before Salvador Moreno Mojarras Jr., 60, was going to be tried by a jury at Santa Maria Superior Court.
According to the prosecution, Mojarras Jr. pleaded guilty to three felony counts of child molestation -- one count of oral copulation/sexual penetration with a child under the age of 10 and two counts of lewd acts upon a child. He also admitted to the special enhancement of committing the acts with multiple children.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens was prosecuting the case and defense attorney Gary Dunlap was representing Mojarras.
Mojarras Jr. was arrested by Lompoc Police in August 2015 at his home at 1700 E. Nectarine Ave., which is where the day care, called Mojarras Family Child Care Center, was being operated.
The arrest came after a girl told law enforcement that she had been abused by one of the staffers at the day care, according to Lompoc Police. Two more victims came forward in the days after the arrest was announced, and additional charges were filed against Mojarras by the District Attorney's Office.
Mojarras was charged with over a dozen felony counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, sexual penetration with a child under the age of 10, lewd/lascivious acts with a child younger than 14, dissuading a witness by force or threat and a special allegation -- committing sex offense with more than one victim.
The crimes reportedly occurred over the course of several years from January 2004 to April 2012.
Mojarras pleaded not guilty in December 2015 and was held to answer following a preliminary hearing in 2016. The Santa Barbara County Superior Court ruled that Mojarras was mentally competent to stand trial in June.
In a separate case, day care provider Georgina Imelda Ruiz, who was accused of torturing and abusing multiple children while heading a day care center in Santa Maria, reached a settlement in October just days before jury trial was set to begin Nov. 6.
In 2015, Ruiz was charged with two counts of torture, one count of willful cruelty to a child and attempted torture. The crimes reportedly occurred in the late 1990s and 2004, according to officials. Ruiz pleaded not guilty in February 2015.
On Oct. 16, Ruiz pleaded no contest to attempted torture and was sentenced to five years in state prison. The remaining counts of torture and willful cruelty to a child were dismissed by the prosecution as part of the deal.
Because she had been in custody since 2015 and served 981 days in County Jail, with 980 days for good behavior/work time credits, Ruiz was released Oct. 18 and was ordered to report to parole in San Luis Obispo, according to court records.
According to the prosecution, Ruiz is now in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, where her deportation proceedings will begin.
Jebens prosecuted the case, with attorney Thomas Allen representing Ruiz.