Merced woman pleads not guilty to molesting infant

06/23/2014 7:32 PM

06/23/2014 10:40 PM

A Merced woman will appear in court Wednesday to answer a charge of sexually molesting at least one child many times over at least seven years.

Danielle Lee Rose Garcia pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of oral copulation with a child under 14 years. Garcia, 28, entered her plea before Judge Mark V. Bacciarini in Merced Superior Court.

Merced police arrested Garcia on June 14, nearly nine months after she apparently stood before her church congregation and admitted molesting two infant girls, according to police reports. Garcia is related to the alleged victims, the report says, but the Sun-Star is withholding specifics to protect the girls’ identities.

Michael McKinney, the Merced County deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, said he could not comment directly on the case. “In general, charges can always be changed or modified as we go and that’s certainly a possibility,” McKinney said.

Garcia’s attorney, Merced County Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Jamieson, could not be reached for comment Monday.

According to a police report filed in court, on Oct. 6, 2013, Garcia stood before the congregation at Church of Christ on West Fourth Street in Merced and said “she had been sexually molesting (the alleged victims) and wanted to be given forgiveness.”

The church pastor contacted police that same day, the report says.

Garcia told police the oldest alleged victim was about 6 months old at the time of the first molestation, about seven years ago. The second child was “several months old” the first time she was molested, about five years ago, the report says.

The children were removed from the home and have since been placed with other relatives, but no charges were filed because they refused to speak with police, the report says.

Several months passed and, in April, one of the alleged victims began speaking about the abuse with a social worker. Police obtained statements from the oldest alleged victim and Garcia was charged with a single felony count of molestation, the report says.

Garcia remains in custody at the Merced County Jail on $300,000 bail.

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