Newhall couple arrested for allegedly molesting at least 10 children over last decade

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help identifying more potential victims of 42-year old Francisco Avendano and his girlfriend 32-year-old Jacqueline Wadsworth. 

The couple is accused of molesting at least ten young children over the last decade. 

“As our detectives began investigating the case it was sort of like peeling back an onion,” Sgt. Brian Hudson, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, said. “We started identifying other children that were involved in this case.” 

Hudson said, a parent tipped them off to the couple in January of 2016. 

The two were arrested March 31, 2016 after detectives served a search warrant at their Newhall home. 

“It’s disgusting,” neighbor, Heather Carias, said of the charges. “It turns my stomach.”

Heather Carias has shared a duplex with the couple for the last two years and said she often sees children at the home. 

“I’m really floored that I knew nothing and really didn’t suspect anything,” she said. 

Another neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, also wasn’t suspicious. 

“They just seemed like regular people in the neighborhood they seemed fairly normal to me,” he said. 

The couple is accused of victimizing kids they knew and others they befriended. 

“They would befriend the kids and play games called 7 minutes in heaven,” Hudson said. “That amounts to going into a private area with another person and doing various things.” 

Wadsworth and Avendaño together face two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and one felony count of lewd acts upon a child that is 14. 

Additionally, Avendaño faces six more felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and one felony count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14. 

The incidents charged range in dates from January 2001 to December 2015. 

Both will be arraigned in court on Thursday.

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