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County creates Major Crimes against Children Unit
• 3 — Barstow
• 13 — Victorville
• 53 — San Bernardino County
• 3 — Barstow
• 11 — Victorville
• 32 — San Bernardino County
SAN BERNARDINO • A new unit in the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office will focus on prosecuting cases of major crimes against children — a third of which were heard in the Victorville courthouse this year.
On Tuesday, District Attorney Michael Ramos announced that a new Major Crimes Against Children Unit has been created to deal with what he described as “the most atrocious and heinous” crimes that the county prosecutes.
“The citizens of this county should know that this office is dedicated to protecting our innocent children by prosecuting their abusers to the fullest extent of the law, and today, we are taking another step to ensure justice,” Ramos said in a press release.
According to the release, this new unit will ensure that these cases receive the priority they deserve from officers with special training.
“As a trial lawyer I learned that these cases are also particularly difficult to prosecute because frequently there are no witnesses and the child is unable to testify,” Ramos said in the release.
To date this year, the Victorville courthouse has heard approximately one third of the major crimes against a child cases countywide, with 11 cases in Victorville out of 32 total cases, according to spokesperson Christopher Lee.
In the release, Ramos noted that numbers cannot convey the brutality of these crimes, which include murder, assault on a child causing death, torture and mayhem, as well as any felony with special allegations of great bodily injury, sex crimes with AIDS and willful harm or injury resulting in death, according to the release.
In one case currently being heard at the Victorville courthouse, a 5-year-old boy in Apple Valley was held hostage in a closet, abused, beaten and denied food and water. One detective assigned to this case called it the worst case of abuse against a child that he had ever seen in his career in law enforcement, according to the release. In his sentencing in January, the defendant could face more than 78 years in state prison.
On Friday, two Barstow men were sentenced to 30 years and 18 years in prison for sex crimes committed against a 9-year-old girl, who was sexually assaulted and beaten on multiple occasions by the man her mother was dating at the time.
In a letter read in court by the district attorney, the victim told her abusers, “You are not men. You are mice who enjoy hunting young, defenseless children.”
According to previous reports, many cases of abuse against children go unreported and never make it to court. However, the county’s hope is that this new unit will help address the problem.
“By creating this unit, my hope is that the message is very clear to anybody who might consider committing a vicious crime against any child,” Ramos said. “You will be held accountable for your actions to the fullest extent of the law.”
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