SANTA ANA (AP) — Police say a Southern California man molested three young girls, the youngest only 5 years old.

Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna says investigators were called to a church in Orange after a 13-year-old girl told a counselor she had been molested by a family friend over the past three years during visits to the man’s Santa Ana home.

The Orange County Register says her 8-year-old and 5-year-old sisters were also victims.

Officers arrested 48-year-old Gary Gruber and he was booked Thursday for investigation of lewd and sexual acts with a child under 14 and threats of retaliation.

Bertagna says Gruber met the girls’ father about five years ago while they serving time in jail. They remained friends after release and Gruber was often called to baby sit the girls.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (21)
  1. Michelle says:

    Are you kidding. The father let’s a jail bird babysit his girls? Where is the mother? Mr. Gruber needs to be locked up for life!! He is a threat to society. It’s too bad that Molesters are not grouped with the general population. His booking photo needs to be mailed to all the bad ass jail birds so they are ready for him.

  2. Bob Saget says:

    No babysitter? No problem, just ask your former cell mate to watch your underage daughters.

    Ward Cleaver: Hey, bubba. Can you watch my underage daughters while i go score some meth?

    Bubba: Sure Ward, bring them over. I’ll take real good care of your underage daughters while you go score some meth.

  3. bootsysmom says:

    Wha??? You let a guy who was in jail babysit your young kids??? The dad should also be prosecuted. His lack of parenting put these girls right into the hands of a predator, like a gift. That’s child abuse.

  4. Tracey Barrett says:

    OMG!!! Do you really need to be told to be cautious about letting an ex-con babysit your little girls? As Nancy Grace says,” WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!!”
    Lock the father up for being so blind! Those two need to spend a lot more time in prison….TOGETHER. Wow……..

  5. Leslie says:

    What do you expect. They were both in jail and have criminal minds. Personally, the father should be charged as an accessory to the crime. What were they in jail for? I makes you wonder. They both should go to jail and not be released. They are both DOGS. PURE TRASH. I feel sorry for those kids.

  6. Deb says:

    OC register said he had prior arrests in 2005 and 2006 for drunk driving hit and run and possession. Not only is the friend’s family affected but also he just recently got his 3 boys out of foster care and here they go back into the foster care system while hopefully he rots in jail or hell if he is found to have done this horrible thing. So he has really hurt and traumatized a total of 6 kids. Very sad to say the least for all involved. I hope all the kids receive the help they need and are given a chance to live stable safe existence without further abuse.

    1. Juliet says:

      you do not know what the heck you are talking about “these boys” ARE NOT HIS CHILDREN! the mother of this amazing boys left them and he was so kind to take them in. get your facts right.

  7. Don Marshall says:

    This guy is a liar,he doesn’t have kids or a wife, I know him. I used to be a friend until I suspected him of being a molester. When I started warning people he started making false police reports accusing me of various crimes. The police and DA would not listen to me and took HIS side because,” he volunteered at a church and was an upstanding citizen”, I was the problem they said. This has been going on for 10 years, these are not his only victims. HEY OC Sheriffs investigators,Hey OC DA NOW DO YOU BELIEVE ME.

  8. Saber 1 says:

    Fire up the chainsaws.

  9. mother of 1 says:

    I know Gary. My husband has known him since he was 6 (Gary was in his late 20’s when they 1st met). Gary was a victim of violence as a child as advocates against the mistreatment of women & their children as an adult. He currently cares for 3 boys who are unable to be properly cared for by their mother (she’s in rehab). He independently provides everything for those boys (no “foster” money or money from the boys’ parents), enrolls them in extracurricular activities such as karate, and helps them with schoolwork (one boy went from special ed to GATE while in Gary’s care).
    Charges against Gary are based solely on suspicion and allegation- those who know Gary well know his true character. Of course things look “suspicious” about a guy who has had a rough past that wants to raise 3 boys on his own. Gary isn’t the selfish type; he has seen lots of suffering and receives criticism for wanting to protect women & children from the violence that he endured.
    Currently Social Services and other professional agencies are digging deep to surface the character and truth of Gary for the public to see; they will do their research and hopefully the news will better report who Gary Gruber truly is based on fact, not suspicion.

    1. Don Shag Marshall says:

      Motherof1 I know his “true” character,he’s a lieing,cheating,snake in the grass. He cheated me out of thousands of dollars. So you sing his praise, I will wait for the investigation to continue…

      1. Juliet says:

        That may have happened but this is very serious and you should not hope for something like this to be true? what person would!? whatever has happened in the past happened in the past?! Gary is an amazing person and what your saying is uncalled for.

    2. Juliet says:

      You are so right! I know Gary’s son..and from what I heard there is no way Gary could have done this. I met Gary and he is such an amazing person. He took 3 boys in and each one well be great men. Your so right in everyway!

  10. Don Shag Marshall says:

    Sounds like he has you under his “spell”. All the “red flags”been there for 20 years, For the sake of the children, I hope nothing did happen. As for Gary, another story,He may have you believing he is a good person but In your place I can give you 20 people that have known him for over 20 years and an ex that will say different. An amazing person doesn’t lie,cheat and steal, so lets give the investigation some time and we will see! In my opinion I would like nothing better than him to do some HARD TIME!

  11. Mother of Non says:

    Don – make that 21 people. He’s been a creeper since his early twenties. I do not have any children, however his fascination with kids has always left me unsettled. After speaking with my friends, more stories are surfacing of his odd behaviors.

  12. I bite my tongue for NOBODY! says:

    Let me start by saying, I have known Gary for well over 20 years. It is clear to me that all of these “good works”(volunteering at a church, taking in 3 children who didn’t have parents capable enough to care for them, etc.) were to cover up his faults. Anybody that can’t see that is just stupid! I think that all of you protecting him, or siding with him probably have something to hide as well! I do understand that the media has a tendency to twist things around and sometimes make the innocent seem guilty, but I don’t think that is the case here. I was extremely close to Gary for so many years, and never would have guessed that he was such a sick person, until about a year or so ago…I started to see through his front. I hope that because this has been made into such a public story, more people will come forward and Gary will get what he deserves! Oh and “Juliet”, you OBVIOUSLY do NOT know Gary, because he doesn’t have a son! 🙂

  13. Don Shag Marshall says:

    WELL,Well, He has now been formally charged with FOUR FELONY COUNTS of molesting. So supporters, just watch as your hero goes to prison and more victims come forward, He is and has been a predator for years and justice has arrived.
    LIFE SENTENCE PLEASE or commit suicide you pathetic loser…

  14. GRATEFUL says:


  15. Mother of 3 says:

    Shag and I bite my tongue for nobody, you both have summed up Mr Gary Gruber very well. We all knew that something would happen someday. He took care of his cousin kids while she was in jail. He was never nice to that boy only when someone came into the house. He smoked pot around that child and dressed him up and took him out on the town for display. He made that child dry all the time. Foster care would not listen to anyone who called. why? Because they did not want to be bothered and he puts on a good show. These 3 boys should never ever go back with him, for there is other types of abuse. I know all about his family life but that does not give him the right to be nuts. He was married at one time to a great lady and he never treated her right again abuse. Last he should never ever be around kids. For the people who don’t know him he is fooling you as well open your eyes. He also focuses on the weak, so hanging out in church or what ever that is were he will fine people to con. He is also a plumber who will take drugs out of customers bathroom when they are not looking. Anything else you want to know about him or his family just let me know, for I know more than anyone. Bring it on!!!

  16. Mother of 3 says:

    And last the OC Register called me after this happened and wanted to know more about him. Did they call you? I would say that all of his friends from High school would never leave their kids in the same room with him because they know something was not right.

  17. Dmarshall says:

    Oh the stories I could tell of his lies and deciet and The OCDA, CMPD and OC sherriff Det. ate it up. Swallowed his lies completely..drugs out of the cupboard, I remember that….His case is still dragging on, I go as often as I can, just to see him sweat. Mof3 I do hope you have contacted the OCDA…

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