A former Arroyo Grande resident pleaded no contest to nine felony counts of child molestation Thursday in a case that dates back to 1999 and involved an eight-year-old victim.
John Vencent Gaines II, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 13 in Superior Court and could face a possible sentence of 34 years in state prison, District Attorney Dan Dow said in an email.
Gaines entered his no contest pleas just before his jury trial was due to start Thursday, Dow said.
Two of the nine counts are for forcible lewd acts on a child under 14. The other seven counts are for lewd acts on a child under 14 without the addition of physical force.
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The molestations occurred between May and August 1999 and were first reported to law enforcement in 2005. The investigation by Arroyo Grande police and the district attorney’s office wasn’t completed until late 2013. Dow said the victim was found “after many years” leading to charges being filed.
Gaines lived in Arroyo Grande in 1999 at the time the crimes occurred but was living in Yermo, outside Barstow, when Arroyo Grande police and San Bernardino County sheriff’s officers arrested him on Nov. 13, 2013, Dow said.
“After working closely with AGPD Det. Mike Zigelman, we filed the case on Oct. 17, 2013 and requested an arrest warrant before Mr. Gaines was arrested,” Dow said.
Gaines has been in County Jail since Nov. 14, 2013.
“It takes tremendous courage for a victim of child sexual abuse to report what happened to them,” Dow said. “This plea to every count charged is an important step toward bringing closure and healing to the victim.”