SARATOGA (CBS SF) – A former employee of a Santa Clara County science camp pleaded guilty this week to sexually molesting two campers and possessing and distributing child pornography, prosecutors said Friday morning.
Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla, 29, started volunteering at Walden West outside Saratoga in 2011 and was hired in 2013, working in several roles in which he had contact with children, county education officials said.
The defendant had passed standard background checks and a federal fingerprint clearance.
Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies arrested Covarrubias-Padilla on May 7, 2015, after receiving a tip from federal investigators that he was downloading child porn.
The day after Covarrubias-Padilla’s arrest, investigators learned that he had molested a 10-year-old Santa Clara County camper at night when he attended the camp the month before.
A Stanislaus County victim later told law enforcement that Covarrubias-Padilla had molested him at the camp for two years, when he was between the ages of 7 and 9.
County education officials said that, as the night monitor, Covarrubias-Padilla was the person students turned to if they were homesick or troubled at night.
Campers at Walden West called Covarrubias-Padilla “Papa bear,” according to prosecutors.
Investigators found that Covarrubias-Padilla was distributing child porn from an email account with the name “pbear” and possessed over 20,000 images and videos of child porn on his laptop, cellphone and online accounts, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Covarrubias-Padilla will be sentenced to 18 years in prison on May 25 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, according to prosecutors.
“A person who molested two children and distributed child pornography, exploiting more children, will be sentenced to almost two decades in prison. Our community is safer because of that,” prosecutor David Shabaglian said in a statement.
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