Fillmore Church Youth Group Leader Arrested for Child Molestation
A youth coordinator at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Fillmore, California, has been arrested and charged with the sexual molestation of a young girl.
Vidal Morales, 55, was taken into custody in Ventura on March 3. He is accused of lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14, a felony charge. A teenage girl tipped off police that Morales—who had worked at the church for 22 years—arrested her in 2013. Detectives then conducted a four-month investigation, culminating in Morales’s arrest. The investigation found that Morales had molested several other underage victims during his time as the church’s youth coordinator. Morales’s bail has been set at $20,000 and he is awaiting trial.
According to Johns Hopkins University, children in daycare centers are almost 30 times more likely to experience sex abuse, neglect, or mistreatment than children who aren’t. Often the abusers are other children, but they are also frequently adults—daycare workers who misuse their position of trust and authority to groom and molest their victims.