MANTECA, Calif. — Samuel "Sammy" Nunez made his first appearance before a judge in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Manteca, Tuesday afternoon. He faces three felony child sex charges including "continuous sexual abuse of a child" and two counts of "lewd acts with a child."
The San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office says the alleged acts occurred between 2001-2005 when the victim was eight to twelve years old.
"These crimes are so difficult because they are people that go into trusted places with people that we perceive to be trusted," San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said.
The initial investigation began on April 23. Nunez, 36, was arrested on the afternoon of May 21 during a traffic stop by Manteca Police.
Nunez founded the non-profit Fathers & Families of San Joaquin in 2006. The organization provides counseling and help to families who have suffered trauma, such as murder. It also provides guidance to at-risk youth, parenting instruction, gang intervention, and more.
In part, the mission statement on its website reads: "To promote the social, cultural, spiritual, economic and environmental renewal of the most vulnerable families in Stockton and the greater San Joaquin Valley."
In court Tuesday, Judge Tony Agbayani, Jr. initially granted a "no bail" request from the prosecution. However, the judge later amended his decision by instead setting a bail hearing for Friday, May 28 in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton.
It was also noted in court that Nunez had a previous felony conviction in Santa Clara County in 1994 "for discharge of a firearm inhabited dwelling/vehicle/aircraft and discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle."
Nunez was sentenced to four years in state prison but served less than three years because of pre-sentence credits for time served while awaiting sentencing, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
When approached for comment at the non-profit's headquarters in Stockton, the doors were locked and it was mostly empty.
On social media, the organization posted: "As of May 22nd, Sammy Nunez is no longer employed by Fathers & Families of San Joaquin. FFSJ remains committed to pursuing its mission.”
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