A Lacey man who was caught on camera molesting his then-girlfriend’s daughter has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.
Jesse Wayne Chavez, 40, appeared in shackles Monday at Thurston County Superior Court. Chavez had previously pleaded guilty to one count of voyeurism and one count of second-degree child molestation. He was initially charged with two counts of second-degree child molestation following his arrest in December 2013.
According to court documents, the victim’s mother had become suspicious of Chavez’s activities with her daughters, who were ages 7 and 13 at the time. Both girls said Chavez had entered their room and removed their covers while they slept.
The victim’s mother then purchased a “nanny cam,” which looked like a small clock, and installed the camera in the girls’ bedroom.
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Footage showed Chavez pulling back the covers of the teenager while she was in bed and taking several cellphone photos of her in her underwear while he touched her chest area, according to court documents.
In a pre-sentence investigation, Chavez admitted to having “desires” for the girl and invading her privacy while she slept. He also admitted to moving the girl’s clothing to view her private areas and masturbating while doing so once.
At Monday’s hearing, the victim’s mother asked Judge Anne Hirsch to consider a longer sentence. Prosecutors had originally recommended 42 months in prison, but agreed to 36 months as part of a deal so the girl would not have to testify.
“He wasn’t a stranger. He was somebody I loved,” the mother said. “I trusted this man with my kids.”
Chavez apologized for his actions. Afterward, Hirsch agreed to a 40-month sentence.
“You were a trusted father figure. You betrayed that trust,” Hirsch told Chavez.
The 40-month prison sentence will be followed by three years of probation. Chavez must register as a sex offender and is prohibited from having contact with the victim for 10 years. His criminal history includes one felony assault conviction along with four misdemeanors, according to court documents.