Former Gardena Councilman Charged In Molestation Investigation

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) - A Gardena city councilman who resigned
earlier this week has been charged with child molestation, authorities said.

Oscar Medrano Jr. was charged with eight counts of lewd act upon
a child under 14, one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 and three counts of lewd act upon a child 14 or 15 years old, Deputy District Attorney Beatriz Dieringer said in a statement.

Prosecutors alleged the victim was molested on a regular basis beginning when she was in elementary school up until age 14. The last count relates to an incident when the victim was 15 years old, prosecutors said.

Medrano, 47, resigned from the city council Tuesday, citing
"unpredictable health problems."

Sheriff's detectives arrested him Thursday morning at his business, Osmar Jewelry, in downtown Gardena.

Prosecutors recommended bail for Medrano at $960,000. It was not
immediately clear whether Medrano had retained an attorney.

Medrano's cousin Ed Medrano is Gardena's chief of police. The Sheriff's Department conducted the investigation to avoid a conflict. Ed Medrano did not return a phone call seeking comment.

An employee at Medrano's jewelry store and a woman who identified herself as Medrano's sister each had no comment.

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Information from: Daily Breeze, http://www.dailybreeze.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-14-08 2325EDT


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