Carpinteria resident Santos Guevara Oliva will be made to answer to charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, forcible rape of a child, and a special allegation of inflicting great bodily injury to a child, ruled Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Teresa Estrada-Mullaney on Friday during Oliva’s preliminary hearing.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, if Oliva is found guilty of the charges, he will be the first alleged child molester in Santa Barbara County — and only one of a few statewide — to face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The counts against Oliva, 33, stem from an alleged incident in either August or September 2012 in which his 13-year-old stepdaughter claims he raped her. The girl went to Cottage Hospital in January 2013 complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath and was told by the doctor that she was about 17 weeks pregnant, according to Sheriff’s detective Chris Corbett, who testified at the preliminary hearing Friday.
Corbett, who investigated the case, said that the girl then told the doctor about Oliva’s alleged actions — she also would go on to tell a child forensic interviewer from Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM) — about 17 weeks prior. During her interview with CALM — for which Corbett was present — Corbett said the girl seemed “withdrawn and emotional.” She described the alleged incident, saying that she and Oliva were watching TV in the one room they shared with the girl’s mother in a Carpinteria apartment (which they all lived in with other family members) when Oliva allegedly started to unbutton her shirt and pull down her pants. After struggling with Oliva for a bit, the girl reported Olivia’s actions as those consistent with rape. She said that Oliva told her not to tell anyone what happened.
Corbett said that the girl also claimed that Oliva attempted two similar actions after his first alleged assault, once asking the girl if she wanted to have sex and another time getting on top of her. None of those incidents resulted in penetration.
Early into his investigation, Corbett said he received a call from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Los Angeles, which reported that the girl was there to have an abortion. Corbett arranged for Los Angeles Police Department detectives to collect the aborted fetus so that it could be tested for DNA. The girl’s DNA, along with Oliva’s, were later compared to that of the fetus; the analyst assembled a DNA profile and found strong evidence to suggest that Oliva was the father.
Deputy public defender Mindi Boulet, Oliva’s attorney, asked questions during the preliminary hearing to see if there were other men living in the apartment with the girl, her mother, and Oliva, asking Corbett if a relative of Oliva’s could have a similar DNA profile. Corbett said he was unsure if the relatives living in the apartment were on the mother’s side or Oliva’s. Corbett reiterated that the DNA analyst said she was “confident” that Oliva was the biological father of the fetus.
An arrest warrant was issued for Oliva on February 1, 2013, and he was arrested by U.S. Marshals and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at his sister’s house in Maryland many weeks later. He was then extradited to Santa Barbara and booked in Santa Barbara County Jail without bail.
According to ICE, Oliva is a citizen of El Salvador who was previously deported in December 2010 but later illegally re-entered the country. According to the District Attorney’s Office, Oliva received probation in 2006 for a grand theft charge, and pleaded guilty in February 2010 to false imprisonment by violence. That 2010 charge, combined with a charge of violating his probation, meant a two-year prison sentence, the DA’s Office said, adding that Oliva served some time and was deported.
Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Ladinig, who is prosecuting the case, said that Oliva won’t be deported if he is found guilty of these charges but would face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Oliva will next appear in court on February 3.
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