Woodland man found guilty of multiple sexual abuse charges, faces over 100 years in prison
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WOODLAND // The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has announced a guilty verdict in the case against 34-year-old Rene Nicolas Munoz, who faces multiple sexual abuse allegations involving an underage victim.
The victim, whose family was friends with Munoz’s family, testified that when she began her freshman year of high school in 2012, she and Munoz (ages 14 and 29 at the time, respectively), began a sexual relationship.
The relationship continued through the girl’s sophomore year, during which time the two exchanged multiple texts, phone calls, and videos. Munoz also reportedly filmed the two having sex and, on occasion, propositioned her for sex with her (also underage) friends in exchange for money.
When she began her junior year, the girl opted to pursue relationships with boys her own age and tried to end the relationship with Munoz.
Munoz promptly forbade her from relationships with anyone else and would repeatedly send text messages containing threats against boys he suspected her of dating. He also claimed to be a violent gang member who had killed people in the past, prompting her to maintain the relationship out of fear of retaliation.
Finally, in February of her senior year, the girl called 9-1-1 after learning that Munoz was on his way to her house with garbage bags, intent on disposing of her body. Responding Woodland PD officers found Munoz outside the home, but released him after he convinced them he wasn’t a threat.
Meanwhile, detectives had begun an investigation into the three-year relationship, examining forensic evidence and discovering the manipulative and coercive tactics Munoz had used to keep the girl afraid and dissuade her from seeking help. As the investigation unfolded, police continued to uncover evidence consistent with the girl’s accounts.
Munoz, a father of two himself, testified on his own behalf, citing his long-standing ties to the community, his years of coaching for the Cal Ripken Youth Baseball Organization, his relationship with his girlfriend (who has a son the same age as Munoz’s victim), and his own role as a father as evidence of his upstanding nature.
Though he admitted to participating in the relationship, he claimed to be the one trapped in the relationship rather than the victim.
On Tuesday, February 20th, the Honorable Judge David Rosenberg found Munoz guilty, stating that while the victim was “credible, honest, and forthright,” Munoz was less so.
Judge Rosenberg also pointed out that, in the eyes of the law, the victim is a child and cannot consent to a sexual relationship with a legal adult, thus tipping the power balance in Munoz’s favor. The relationship, in turn, constituted a betrayal of the victim’s trust.
Munoz has been found guilty of 17 counts of rape of a minor, 21 counts of child molestation, 38 counts of statutory rape, possession of child pornography, and sodomy and forcible sexual penetration — for which he faces over 100 years in prison.
His sentencing has been scheduled for April 20, 2018.