A California man could spend 80 years in prison after being convicted of child exploitation so horrendous that the district attorney described it as “easily, one of worst cases” his office has ever seen.
In January, a child who was not identified reported abuse at his home to the school. Investigators responded to the abuse report by going to a house in Magalia, California. This is a non-incorporated area of California located about 90 miles north of Sacramento. They were searching for Robert Chavez (41), who lived in the house with Amanda Johnson (38), Kelsey Cabrera (35), and their five minor children.
Chavez, Johnson, and Cabrera were in “a polyamorous relationship,” according to the report from Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey. Chavez is not believed to be the father of any of the children.
What police discovered through their subsequent investigations was, as Ramsey described it, “truly horrific.” The children at the home later told police that Chavez regularly abused them physically and sexually for about a year. They reported that he fired BB guns at them, injured them with whips, kicked and punched them in the face, and even burned one little girl’s face with cigarettes.
Chavez allegedly raped or molested girls as young as 4 years old who lived in his house. According to the district attorney’s office, Chavez also took “pleasure” in torturing the young boy living in his home. He allegedly beat the boy until it was impossible for him to stand up and left extensive bruises. He threatened to abuse the children if they reported his actions to authorities.
District Attorney Ramsey stated that abuse in the family was so widespread “that it was difficult to comprehend the full extent of the suffering the children endured.”
Chavez, on Thursday, pleaded guilty to “multiple charges of rape and [molestation] of the girls” as well as a single count of torture in his abuse of a young boy. In a separate case, he pleaded guilty to mayhem for the abuse of a former lover. He strangled her and burned a “part intimate” of her with a curling iron. She was permanently scarred.
Chavez’s lawyer requested that Chavez be released from jail until the sentencing. He claimed that Chavez was having “difficulties with other inmates”. The judge refused the request.
Johnson and Cabrera also pled not guilty to four counts each of felony child neglect and dissuading witness for failing to stop the abuse and discouraging their own children from giving testimony.
The three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced next month. The Butte County Jail is holding them without bail.
Ramsey praised the children’s bravery in reporting the abuse despite the tremendous pressure Chavez and the mothers put on them to keep quiet. He thanked the investigators who were many “hardened” veterans of law enforcement but still acknowledged that the case had taken a “toll” emotionally on them.
The children’s current residence and who they reside with aren’t currently known.