Zachary Warburg | Credit: Courtesy

A Santa Barbara photographer and software developer was remanded into custody last week after he pleaded guilty to child molestation and was sentenced to four years in prison. 

Zachary Warburg, 32, was arrested in 2019 after a San Marcos High School student notified officials Warburg had been attempting inappropriate communications with her. Authorities soon uncovered multiple instances of “suspicious, lewd, and suspected criminal behavior occurring between Warburg and minor female students at local area high schools and junior high schools, as well as out of the area,” the Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

Detectives eventually identified a pattern of behavior where Warburg would contact intended victims either in person or through social media and solicit sex acts or send explicit images. Search warrants also revealed Warburg was in possession of child pornography. According to prosecutors, the victims ranged in age from 11-17 years old, and most of the offenses took place in spring 2018, though some occurred as far back as 2015.

As a photographer, Warburg was known for documenting breaking news incidents. His work frequently appeared on Noozhawk.

Two of the charges Warburg pleaded guilty to ― lewd acts with a child under 14 years and witness dissuasion ― are considered serious and violent felonies under California’s three strikes law, prosecutor Sarah Barkley said. In addition to his prison term, Warburg will also be required to register as a sex offender upon release. 

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