A 76-year-old Oceano man faces 136 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him Tuesday of several counts of child molestation.
Elias Ramirez Sosa was convicted of nine felonies that were committed against four minors. All of the victims were younger than 14 at the time of the offenses.
According to court records, the offenses were committed continuously over a period of 18 years — from 1994 to 2012. The victims were between the ages of 4 and 7 when Sosa began molesting them.
Today, the victims are 12, 18, 21 and 27 years old.
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The abuse surfaced when one of the victims told a school counselor in 2012, said Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt, who tried the case. That counselor then reported the information to the Sheriff’s Office, which launched an investigation that found other victims.
Sosa was booked into jail in March 2013 and initially held on $1 million bond.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, evidence showed that Sosa cared for the victims while their parents worked. That’s when the crimes occurred.
During the trial, Sosa denied committing the crimes, Devitt said, but all four victims testified that he had committed them.
“It clearly shows the strength of these victims to come forward and testify in a very difficult case,” Devitt said.
After a two-week trial, the jury convicted Sosa on all nine charges, including eight counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14.
Sosa, who is now held without bail, is set to be sentenced in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on July 7. He faces a minimum of 15 years to life and up to 136 years to life, Devitt said.