Michael C. Downs
Alleged pedophile Michael C. Downs, 19, of Valencia, racked up five additional sex related charges involving three new victims at his preliminary hearing Wednesday morning at the San Fernando Superior Courthouse.
“So now we’re looking at a total of 34 counts involving 17 victims,” said Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. (NOTE: Robison subsequently said there are 15 victims, not 17.)
According to the amended complaint, four of the new counts are for felonies and one is a misdemeanor. The previous 29 counts were all felonies.
One of the alleged female victims is only 13. Downs is charged with two counts of a lewd act upon a child under 14 for his alleged involvement with the girl.
Charges of unlawful sexual intercourse and sexual penetration by a foreign object are being filed on behalf of another new victim, age 15.
The misdemeanor charge of sexual battery involves a third new victim who is 14. In this count, Downs accused of willfully and unlawfully touching an intimate part of the female’s body against her will and for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse.
Detective Rich Simmons of the Special Victims Bureau said he began his investigation involving Downs the second week of December when victims reported the crimes to unnamed school officials. By December 15 Simmons felt he had enough information to take Downs into custody at his school, Bowman High.
Downs is alleged to have met his victims at the Westfield Town Center and corresponded with them on internet social networking sites including Facebook and Formspring.
The alleged sexual charges occurred over a 19-month period from May 2010 until he was taken into custody in December 2011.
Downs appeared in court this morning where his attorney requested that the arraignment be continued. L.A. County Prosecutor Kareen O’Brien objected, but the judge agreed and the arraignment was put over to Feb. 6.
Downs did not enter a plea due to the continuance. Downs’ bail of $1.8 million was unchanged.