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Man pleads to sex charges involving minor

BARSTOW • A Lenwood man accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl pleaded to lesser charges Wednesday after the victim’s testimony changed in trial, weakening the prosecution’s case.

Barstow Superior Court Judge Victor Stull sentenced Anthony Malanga, 37, to two years in prison for assault likely to cause great bodily injury and attempting to have sex with a minor. He was set to be released from custody that day with credit for time served and good behavior.

Malanga was originally charged with lewd or lascivious acts with a child 14 or 15 for groping the young victim while the two were watching a movie in his bed in May 2011.

During previous interviews with authorities, the victim said she thought he was awake when the offense occurred, said Deputy District Attorney Joel Buckingham. But during her testimony Tuesday she said after reviewing the facts again, she felt he was asleep when he touched her.
If he were truly asleep he would not face charges, Buckingham said.

“Based upon the testimony that was heard, the likelihood of the jury coming back with a decision, of it being a hung jury, was significantly increased,” Buckingham said.

If Malanga were convicted of the original charge he would have faced three years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender. With the plea deal he will not have to register.

Attempts to reach Malanga’s defense attorney Jeff Moore were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or klucia@desertdispatch.com


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