December 18, 2016
District Attorney Maggie Fleming announced that on December 15, 2016, a Humboldt County jury convicted 70-year-old Eureka resident Barry John Sanford of three felonies: continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age (Penal Code Section 288.5(a)), forcible oral copulation with a minor 14 years of age (Penal Code Section 288a(c)(2)(C)), and committing a lewd and lascivious act upon a child ( Penal Code Section 288a(c)(1)). The jury did not reach a unanimous verdict on one additional felony charge, aggravated sexual assault of a child (Penal Code Section 269(a)).
In the summer of 2013, then 15-year-old John Doe disclosed to his parents that Sanford had sexually abused him. At the time, Sanford was the in-home care provider for, and boyfriend of, Doe’s grandmother. Shortly after the initial disclosure, Doe’s grandmother confronted Sanford with the allegations of abuse and ended their relationship. Sanford fled to the residence of his lifelong friends in Pennsylvania. He told them that he was a “fugitive” for having sex with Doe.
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Investigator Jennifer Turner led the investigation. She arranged for an interview to be conducted by the Humboldt County Child Abuse Services Team. Jed Mefford, a specially trained Child Forensic Interviewer, conducted the interview of John Doe. Doe recounted in great detail multiple incidents of sex acts performed upon him by Sanford beginning when Doe was only 12 years old. Investigator Turner then collaborated with other law enforcement agencies to locate Mr. Sanford in Pennsylvania and arrange his extradition to face the Humboldt County charges.
The evidence at trial came largely from the victim. John Doe, who was diagnosed with autism as a young child, testified before the jury in the presence of the defendant in a manner that demonstrated not only his truthfulness but also his bravery and unrelenting determination to hold Sanford accountable for his actions.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads with the assistance of DA Investigators Kyla Baxley and Steve Dunn. Mr. Sanford chose to represent himself. Mr. Sanford was assisted by a court appointed investigator, a paralegal and advisory legal counsel.
Mr. Sanford is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Marilyn Miles on January 17th at 8:30 a.m. He faces a maximum of over 26 years in prison.