Alleged Santa Ana gang member accused of molesting teens

SANTA ANA — A 44-year-old alleged Santa Ana gang member was charged today with sexually assaulting two teens who authorities allege were seduced by the suspect with drugs and pornography.

Jerry Ayala was charged with three felony counts of sodomy of a person under 16 years old, two felony counts of oral copulation of a person younger than 16, two felony counts of distributing pornography to a minor and a felony count of lewd act on a child 14 or 15 years old, according to Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Ayala also faces a sentencing enhancement for committing lewd acts on multiple children, Emami said.

Ayala was arrested Wednesday at his home at 1018 S. Austin St., said Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

Police suspect there may be other victims who fear coming forward, Bertagna said.

``He's a documented gang member, so there's a fear factor,'' Bertagna said.

An Orange County probation officer who was counseling a boy in Juvenile Hall called police Tuesday, Bertagna said. The boy told investigators that Ayala had sexually assaulted him several times up until April 23, Bertagna said.

``According to the victim in this case, (Ayala) is also the supplier of narcotics, specifically marijuana, and once he gets you in his web he whips out the crystal meth and then it's off to the races,'' Bertagna said.

The boy was 15 when he met Ayala in the neighborhood and the two smoked marijuana together, Bertagna said.

``(Ayala) convinced him to come into his bedroom, where he gets him to try some crystal meth, but he doesn't tell him what it is,'' Bertagna said.

Ayala showed the boy pornography as he sexually assaulted him, Bertagna said.

According to court records, the alleged abuse dates back to Nov. 1, 2008.

Ayala is also accused of distributing pornography to another teenager and committing a lewd act on the teen on April 10, 2003, according to Bertagna and Emami. Details of that alleged crime were not immediately available.

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