A Santa Barbara man was arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly committing a lewd act upon a child after the victim reported to family members that she had been fondled inappropriately after a game of hide-and-seek.
According to a SBPD press release, Jose Vasques Prestegui, 40, allegedly molested the five-year-old girl in his Eastside residence. Prestegui, who claimed he was also a victim of molestation as a child, reportedly admitted to the crime during a SBPD Crimes Against Persons interview, saying it was “like payback” for his childhood mistreatment.
The victim was visiting friends in the house, which is shared by several families. While playing a game of hide-and-seek with other children, the victim encountered Prestegui in his area of the home and sat down to watch television with him. During this time, Prestegui allegedly fondled the victim, touching one of her intimate body parts through her clothing.
The incident did not go unnoticed for long — the victim promptly notified her 17-year-old cousin, also at the shared residence, who immediately contacted other family members. One of the adults confronted Prestegui, who fled the scene once police were called.
However, Prestegui’s flight was short-lived, as SBPD officers located him on the 400 block of North Voluntario soon after responding to the scene. Prestegui was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on $100,000 bail.