An Atwater man has been arrested on the allegation that he molested a 7-year-old girl at a daycare center, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.
Richard D. Brown, 67, was booked into Merced County Jail on felony charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 and for possession of child pornography. He remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.
The investigation into Brown was initiated Dec. 15, after the girl told her mother that “Richard had touched her on her private part” while she was at the daycare center.
Detectives with the sheriff’s department, accompanied by a social services worker conducted a subsequent interview with the victim. Deputy Ed Katen said the girl gave a detailed account of the incident and based on that investigators were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Brown and a search warrant for his computers and his home on Berkshire Avenue in Atwater.
Katen said Brown had been working at the daycare center for a few months and that he was a friend of the owner.
Detectives have contacted and interviewed the owner of the daycare center and they are convinced that the owner did not know that this type of activity was going on and the owner has completely cooperated with the investigators, Katen said.
The sheriff’s department did not release the name of the daycare center.
Detectives have contacted the parents of other children at the daycare center and have been able to determine that there were no other victims, Katen said.
A search of Brown’s computer turned up a stash of child pornography that disturbed even the seasoned investigators.
“A detective investigating the case commented that some of the items and pornography found on the suspect’s computer was some of the most graphic pornography that he has ever seen and that one file depicted a naked 3-year-old baby on an unknown male’s lap and the male was sexually assaulting the baby,” Katen said. “The detective said that he was so disgusted by viewing the video that he had to turn it off.”
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