SANTA ANA (CBS) — Arraignment for Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante was postponed Thursday after a judge issued protective orders to prevent any contact between the councilman and the alleged victims.
KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports prosecutors allege Carlos Bustamante, who is facing sex-related charges involving seven women, targeted mostly younger Hispanic woman as a former Orange County Public Works official.
Bustamante, 47, is accused of sexually assaulting at least seven women between 2003 and 2011, all of them with similar ethnic backgrounds, age range, and physical characteristics, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors allege Bustamante would call or email victims “whom he knew to be vulnerable due to their emotional state, current relationship status, or employment position” and have them report to his office, which is one of the locations where the alleged assaults occurred.
“We intend to prove that he groomed his victims and wore them down by repeatedly making sexual comments and advances,” said Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon.
Some of the tactics allegedly used by Bustamante include grabbing his victims’ breasts and buttocks, exposing himself, and masturbating in front of the victims.
He also allegedly prevented them from fleeing by pinning them against walls or warning that his office was soundproof and that no one would hear their screams.
The charges first came to light after an anonymous letter was sent to county officials in 2011.
“Over 50 witnesses have been interviewed, and many of these witnesses had been very, very reluctant to get involved,” said Zimmon.
A judge Thursday issued protective orders to prevent any contact between Bustamante and the seven alleged victims.
In addition to over 10 sexual assault-related felony charges, Bustamante is also accused of fraudulently requesting and receiving over $3,100 in county funds.
He will be back in court on July 26.