A former Saddleback Valley Unified School District child care worker was convicted Thursday for molesting two boys in an after-school program.
Scott Andrew Christensen,28, of Rancho Santa Margarita, who worked in the after-school program for about six years, wept upon hearing the verdicts. The defendant, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 1, faces up to 55 years to life in prison.
Christensen was convicted nearly four years ago for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy he was baby sitting.
He was convicted today of three felony counts of lewd acts on a child younger than 14, and the jury also found true sentence-enhancing allegations of substantial sexual conduct with a child and committing sex acts against multiple victims.
Jurors deliberated all day Wednesday and two hours today before convicting him of molesting the second child and a third victim who stepped forward after the first trial.
Christensen’s attorney, Gary Pohlson, declined comment on the verdicts.
In his opening statement, he told jurors Christensen did not contest that he sexually assaulted the boy he was babysitting in 2006, but denied he molested the other two boys during “movie time” in The Learning Connection program at Melinda Heights Elementary School in Rancho Santa Margarita.
One of the boys molested during “movie time,” when the lights were dimmed, ran to the bathroom to wash his hands and sat away from his teacher when he returned, Deputy District Attorney Nagy Morcos said.
The molestation happened sometime between May 2000 and August 2004, Morcos said. The boy did not tell anyone until he was 14 and his sister asked him if he was a virgin, the prosecutor said.
The victim, who is now 17, traveled from Ohio, where his family now lives, to testify.
The second victim did not testify. His parents didn’t want him to go back on the stand because they felt it would be too emotionally traumatic. Orange County Superior Court Judge Gary Paer ruled before the retrial started that jurors could instead hear a reading of the victim’s testimony in the first trial, Morcos said.
The child Christensen was convicted of sexually assaulting told his mother that the defendant performed oral sex on him and then had him do the same to Christensen, Morcos said.
“He told me this would give me magic powers,” the prosecution quoted the boy as telling his mother.
Christensen faced up to 16 years in prison for the charges on which he was convicted in his first trial. Today’s convictions make him eligible for an additional 45 years, Morcos said.