(Entravision) Santa Cruz, CA. Yesterday december 12, 2013 Judge Paul Marigonda issued a one million dollar bench warrant for convicted child molester Jorge Antonio Pallares who was accidentally released by the Santa Cruz County Jail. On OCtober 11, 2013, the defendant, age 38, please no-contest to one count of Penal Code Section 288(a) – commiting a lewd act on a 13 year old girl. The Court ordered that the defendant was to be sentenced to up to 6 years in prison on December 12,2013. The defendant was supposed to be held in jail until sentencing.
A Quality Control Officer with the Santa Cruz County jail accidentally released the defendant to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on October 16, 2013. This was in part due to a court clerk sending the jail court minutes for the wrong court date. While the defendant was in deportation proceedings an attorney for Immigration and Customs Enforcement contacted the Santa Cruz County jail and inquired as to whether the defendant should actually be deported given the fact that he had a sentencing date on December 12, 2013 in Santa Cruz County Superior Court. Representatives from the Santa Cruz County jail reviewed the matter again. The jail declined to take the defendant back into custody. The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office was never notified.
The defendant was deported to Mexico on November 15, 2013. Consequently, the defendant was not present for sentencing on December 12, 2013 and has not been sentenced to prison for the child molestation crime for which he has been convicted. “This should never have happened. A convicted child molester is now free to victimize other children,” said District Attorney Bob Lee.
The victim’s family members and Watsonville Police Department Detectives have been notified of the defendant’s accidental release.