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Napa Man Convicted In Rape, Sexual Abuse of Child Family Members; Faces Life In Prison

NAPA (CBS SF) -- A Napa man was convicted of raping and sexually abusing two young family members over the course of several years and is facing life in prison, authorities said Wednesday.

Samuel Cereda, 39, was convicted on Friday of 50 charges including child rape, oral copulation, sexual penetration and forcible lewd acts. The Napa County District Attorney's Office said Cereda committed the acts against one family member between 2017 and 2019 in Napa County, and another between 2009 and 2011 in San Bernardino County. His victims were between 8 and 13 years old at the time of the sexual abuse.

Following a nine-day trial in Napa Superior Court, the jury also found true special allegations that Cereda committed sexual offenses against multiple victims, engaged in substantial sexual conduct with the victims, and committed the offenses by force, fear, violence or duress.

The DA's office said one of the survivors disclosed the abuse to a friend who then encouraged her to report it to a trusted school official, which triggered a Napa police investigation. During that investigation, detectives learned of the molestation of the second survivor which had happened many years prior and in San Bernardino County. The DA's office then took jurisdiction over all the offenses and prosecuted them as one case.

During the trial, both survivors - now aged between 16 and 20 years old - testified against Cereda.

"To escape accountability for his crimes, a perpetrator in a case of this nature does everything in his power to promote forgetting," Napa County Deputy District Attorney Agnes Dziadur said in a prepared statement. "If secrecy fails, he attacks the credibility of his victims. If he cannot silence them completely, he tries to make sure no one will listen and pay attention. In this case, the defendant did not succeed. Against all odds, including complications and delays due to a global pandemic, the survivors were able to speak their truths and the jury listened and held the defendant accountable for all of his crimes. I am so grateful that we could achieve justice for them in this case."

Cereda is being held without bail and faces a life sentence in state prison, the DA's office said. His sentencing hearing was scheduled for December 1.

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