BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man charged with molesting a child was found guilty by a Kern County jury on Thursday.
The county District Attorney’s Office said the jury returned guilty verdicts against Joel Worley on three felony charges, including lewd acts on a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child. The jury also found him not guilty of two counts of sodomy of a child 10 years old or younger after finding insufficient evidence for those counts.
Between 2014 and 2015, the DA’s Office said Worley sexually molested an 8-year-old extended family member in secluded areas where he believed he could “carry out the deed.” Worley engaged in acts of touching and sexual assault of the victim, according to the office.
The offenses were discovered in 2018, when the victim came forward to report the sexual abuse after learning that Worley had also sexually molested two other children, ages 9 and 12, in the state of Washington.
“Those who commit sexual crimes against children seldom stop after one offense, or even one victim,” said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer. “Sexual abuse of children can go unreported and undetected for years, and if left unchecked, a predator can victimize even more children. Reporting such predators and bringing them to justice requires courage but is the best and only way to prevent further victimization.”
Worley’s sentencing is set for Aug. 26. He faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison and mandatory sex offender registration.