A 63-year-old former Santa Barbara resident has been arrested on charges that he repeatedly molested two young boys he is related to.
Police said Manuel Munoz lived with the victims and their parents in Santa Barbara for approximately two years between 2007 and 2009. As a relative of the boys, who were around 6 and 12 years old at the time, Munoz was entrusted to care for them alone.
According to a prepared statement from the SBPD, Munoz was arrested on charges of: continuous sexual abuse of a child while residing in the same home of a victim under 14 years of age; committing a lewd act upon a child under 14 years of age by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of great bodily injury to the victim or another person; and intimidating a witness or victim.
In April 2009, SBPD detectives began investigating reports that Munoz might be sexually abusing the two boys. It wasn’t until October of this year that Detective Crystal Bedolla of the Crimes Against Persons Unit developed enough evidence to obtain a $1 million warrant for his arrest.
By this time, Munoz had moved to San Francisco. He was arrested at his home there on October 16, 2013, by officers from the SFPD Tenderloin Station and booked in San Francisco County Jail #1.
Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman was able to obtain an increase of Munoz’s bail to $5 million on October 17. The next day, SPBD Detectives Bedolla and Mark Vierra took custody of Munoz in San Francisco and transported him to Santa Barbara to be booked in the county jail here.
Their investigation indicates that while in Santa Barbara, Munoz may have had the opportunity to look after other children. Anyone with knowledge of additional victims is asked to contact Detective Bedolla at (805) 897- 2426.