California Couple Accused of Molesting 10 Children; Prosecutors Expecting to Find More Alleged Victims
Police began investigating Jacqueline Wadsworth and Francisco Avenda o last month
Police have arrested a California couple who allegedly molested at least ten children, both boys and girls, between the ages of 3 and 17 who lived in the same Santa Clarita neighborhood, PEOPLE confirms.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has charged Jacqueline Wadsworth, 32, and Francisco Avenda o, 42, with numerous counts of lewd acts with a child, and both remain in police custody on $220,000 and $2 million bail, respectively.
Officials claim additional charges could be forthcoming, as investigators believe there may be more victims, a police statement says.
“Based on information developed over the course of this investigation, detectives believe that there are other children that may have potentially been sexually assaulted by these suspects during the past 10 years,” Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Department Special Victims Bureau said in the statement.
“The suspects had access to the children because they were kids in the neighborhood and children of friends,” Hudson added. “We are concerned there may be additional children who have been abused that we are not aware of yet.”
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Police began investigating the boyfriend and girlfriend last month, after a 12-year-old boy told his mother he’d been molested by the couple in late 2015, the statement alleges.
According to prosecutors, Wadsworth and Avenda o allegedly fondled their victims inside their home while playing the teenage party game “Seven Minutes in Heaven.”
The game entails two people entering a private room, usually a closet, where they usually interact romantically for no more than seven timed minutes.
Neither defendant has entered a plea to the charges, and attempts to reach their public defenders were unsuccessful Friday.
Hudson said in the statement he’d like to encourage potential victims to come forward.
“We want to find any other children out there who have been victimized, identify them and assist them with getting justice,” Hudson said. “Often times, victims of abuse can get on the road to closure by addressing their case, getting the resources they need, and holding the people accountable for what they have done.”
If convicted, Wadsworth could be sent to prison for more than 10 years while Avenda o faces 135 years to life behind bars.