SANTA CRUZ — A former Live Oak scouts leader and foster parent was sentenced to 45 years to life in state prison Thursday, as the child molester heard emotional statements from some of his numerous victims.
Carl Guerin, 60, sat quietly with his attorney by his side, watching carefully as both those directly affected and their chosen spokesperson came to the podium before Santa Cruz County Superior Court visiting Judge Vernon Nakahara. Guerin did not provide the court with a statement, neither in written form or verbally.
This week’s sentencing comes after Guerin and the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office struck a plea deal, announced in July, just prior to trial. In the deal, 50 of the 57 charges against Guerin were dropped, relating to seven of the case’s 10 victims. Guerin was sentenced to six felony counts of a lewd act on a child under 14 and one felony count of a lewd act with a child 10 or older.
Assistant District Attorney Conor McCormick thanked abuse victims and their families for appearing in court Thursday.
“I hope that you understand that it is my belief that with your courage coming forward — indeed, ready to come testify about what happened to all of you — you helped make this community a safer place,” McCormick said. “I want to thank all of you for that.”
Asked outside the court for the reasons the case has stretched over so many years, McCormick cited both the coronavirus pandemic’s impact and a continuously evolving case, with a new victim coming forward as late as June of this year. According to victims present in court, there also were several different prosecutors assigned the case for its duration.
After the sentencing, several women who said Guerin sexually abused them while they were children living in his home shared their feelings of both relief at the case’s conclusion and frustration that it had stretched nine years since Guerin’s original arrest in the case.
Celeste, who asked that her last name not be shared in order to avoid stigmatization, explained the hardships she had gone through in daylighting Guerin’s crimes, with others not believing her claims — thinking they arose as vindictiveness for having been evicted from her home by Guerin at age 17.
“I definitely don’t feel satisfied, as I said in my statement,” Celeste said. “It’s taken way too long. Everything started when I was pregnant. My son’s 9 years old and Carl just doesn’t look the same. He looks significantly different from when he abused us. Now, he’s almost unrecognizable.”
Shelby Puckett, who said she survived abuse at the hands of Guerin beginning at age 8, said she was glad the case was over. Related Articles
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“It took a long time. I feel like the DA’s office could have done better with that,” Puckett said. “I feel really bad for all the girls in this case. It’s nice that it’s over and its done with and he can spend life in prison.”
In one victim impact statement, read to the court by McCormick, the father of three girls abused by Guerin wrote that he was not a very religious person, but “I do pray that the good Lord casts his punishment upon you on judgment day. May the good Lord find you guilty of your crimes and sentence you to hell, where you will suffer everlasting pain.”
Prior to Guerin’s eligibility for parole in 45 years, his sentence will be reduced by nearly 10.5 years for time already served and additional credits carved off his prison term.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct an inaccurate quote.