Merced County Jury finds man guilty on multiple counts of child molest

Today, the jury trial of People v. Jose Juan Mena-Barba concluded with guilty verdicts on five felony counts of child molest: Sexual Penetration of a Child 10 Years Old or Younger, three counts of Forcible Lewd Act Upon a Child Under the Age of 14, and Lard Act Upon a Child Under the Age of 14.

A Merced County jury heard testimony from the now-adult victim who described surviving years of sexual abuse, which occurred while they were approximately ages six through thirteen.

Mr. Barba is a relative of the confidential victim. For years, the confidential victim kept the abuse a secret, but in August of 2018, the confidential victim reported the incidents to law enforcement.

This Investigations Bureau of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office investigated the allegations conducting pretext phone calls with Mr. Barbara, requesting forensic examinations of potential evidence, and
interviewing Mr. Barba.

The investigation into the confidential victim’s claims were substantiated and charges were filed by the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.

The case culminated today with
the jury’s verdict of guilt on five out of the eight alleged charges. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three of the alleged charges and those charges were dismissed by the People.

Mr. Barba will return to court on June 21, 2021, for sentencing. He faces a determinate sentence of up to 32 years in state prison plus an additional 15 years to life. Deputy District Attorney Sara Rosenthal prosecuted the case.

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