Fresno, Calif. --The former director of the Boys and Girls Club of Firebaugh, Calif. was found guilty Thursday by a federal jury of trying to get a teenage boy to engage in sexual acts.
It took less than a half-an-hour of deliberating for the jury to reach the decision. Juan Torres, 28, was arrested in 2013 after a 14-year-old went to police to report Torres was harassing him.
Juan Torres did not testify in his own defense. In fact, his attorney did not call a single witness, but Torres was interviewed by investigators and said he was only joking.
According to court records Torres began grooming a teenage boy through chats on Facebook messenger. It started with the Boys and Girls Club director asking the victim if he could give him a wedgie, but when the conversation turned sexual, the teen went to Firebaugh police.
Jurors contemplated the case for about 25 minutes Thursday before reaching a unanimous decision. ABC 30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi said federal prosecutors showed the suspect's motive through other evidence they showed the jury. "The problem he had in this case is the government brought in some other evidence, I believe it was some type of a videotape or some type of a recording of this defendant committing an act very similar to this act. Not only enticing somebody but actually committing the act."
The boy who turned Torres in said he was working community service hours at the club, and was being supervised by the suspect, when he was offered to have sexual relations with Torres in return for him getting 5 to 10 hours of work. "That's clearly enticement and it's tying in the boys and girls club to the acts that this defendant is trying to commit," said Capozzi.
During the two day trial in federal court, prosecutors called several witnesses to the stand.
Law enforcement officers ended up setting the suspect up by taking over a chat session. An officer posed as the victim, and was able to get Torres to explain his intentions and what he wanted to do with the boy.
Officers believe the suspect used his role as a youth leader to lure kids. Investigators believe there are several victims who attended the Boys and Girls Club.
Torres is in the Fresno County jail. He is facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison- up to life.
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