Modesto man sen­tenced for sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing three girls

The Modesto Bee - - Local - BY ROSALIO AHUMADA rahu­[email protected]­ Rosalio Ahumada: 209-578-2394, @ModBeeCourts

A 41-year-old Modesto man has been sen­tenced to 40 years to life in prison for sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing three girls, the Stanis­laus County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice an­nounced in a news re­lease Wed­nes­day.

A jury on Oct. 25 found Ger­ald Wayne Morse guilty of four counts of com­mit­ting lewd or las­civ­i­ous acts upon a child younger than 14 years old, ac­cord­ing to Stanis­laus Su­pe­rior Court records. The jury found him not guilty on a fifth count of lewd or las­civ­i­ous acts.

The vic­tims were iden­ti­fied in court as Jane Doe 1, 2 and 3. Morse was re­lated to the three girls.

The Modesto Po­lice De­part­ment be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing Morse in March 2016, af­ter Jane Doe 1 told her mother that Morse mo­lested her on two oc­ca­sions; she was 7 years old at the time.

Then, the two other girls felt safe enough to tell author­i­ties that Morse had sex­u­ally mo­lested them, as well, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors. Jane Doe 2 and 3 told their mom that Morse had mo­lested them sev­eral years be­fore.

When in­ves­ti­ga­tors ques­tioned Morse, he said he would wake up in the bed­room of Jane Doe 2 and 3, and he would be touch­ing Jane Doe 3 un­der her cloth­ing, pros­e­cu­tors said in the news re­lease. Morse also told po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors that this had hap­pened sev­eral years be­fore, and he had made ef­forts to mend the dam­age he had caused.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Morse claimed to re­mem­ber very lit­tle about that time in his life, be­cause of the med­i­ca­tions he was tak­ing.

Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Erin Schwartz pros­e­cuted the case. Morse was sen­tenced Dec. 21, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Morse was fac­ing a max­i­mum sen­tence of 90 years to life in prison, but Judge Shawn Bessey chose to run two of the counts con­cur­rently and sen­tenced Morse to 40 years to life in prison.

Dur­ing sen­tenc­ing, Bessey said Morse failed to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for what he did and the last­ing af­fect it had on these three girls, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors.

If Morse is re­leased from prison, he will be re­quired to regis­ter as a sex of­fender for the rest of his life and re­main on pa­role for the rest of his life, pros­e­cu­tors said.

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