A 68-year-old pedophile who lived at a child care facility in Sunnyvale operated by a relative has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing children there, law enforcement officials said.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has charged Jose Cristobal Velandria with five felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts by force on a child under age 14, a Superior Court clerk said.
Investigators said Tuesday that at least two children were abused.
“The children are between 5- and 8-years old; elementary-aged children,” said Murat Ozgur, Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County. The touching that was made was a sexual type of touching.”
The pedophile’s next court appearance will be Oct. 15 in Superior Court in Palo Alto, the clerk said.
“We are concerned because this individual may have had access to other children that were there, and there may be other children who were inappropriately touched by this individual,” said Ozgur.
He was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of sexually abusing two minors at the Belen’s Childcare Home at 790 S. Wolfe Road, according to the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.
Sunnyvale law enforcement received a report about the alleged abuse on Sept. 30, launched an investigation and obtained a warrant for Velandria’s arrest, law enforcement Capt. Dave Pitts said.
During the investigation, cops learned that Velandria had lived at the day care center and was a relative of the person who owns and operates the facility, said Pitts, who declined to identify the relative.
A representative of Belen’s Childcare Home could not be reached for comment.
Parents who were willing to speak to the local media Tuesday said they were happy with the quality of care at Belen’s.
“It’s really good, she loves the kids,” said Juan Carlos Gonzales, as he dropped off his 4-year-old daughter during lunchtime.
He said that was the first time he heard anything was amiss.
“He’s been here for almost a year and it’s been great for him,” said Suraj Ray, a parent who said his son was thriving at the day care. “The people are great.”
Neighbors said Velandria was friendly, and they’d sometimes see him walking with children to the park.
“He’s a good man. I don’t know what happened inside, who knows?” said Edmund Vergonio, a neighbor.
Cops want to hear from any parent worried their child may be a victim.
The city records show that the business was licensed to Belen Di Lascio, who has operated it since 2009, according to a Sunnyvale city employee.
State officials confirmed Tuesday that the day care still had a valid license but an investigation was underway.