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St. George man charged with molesting girls in church van

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SALT LAKE CITY — A St. George man faces felony charges accusing him of sexually abusing two girls multiple times as they rode in a church van.

Juan Ubaldo Guerra, 56, was charged Friday in 5th District Court in two separate cases with a total of five counts of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.

The investigation began in September when a girl reported to police that several years ago, when she was 5 or 6 years old, she was sexually assaulted by a man who sat next to her in the back seat of a church van, according to police affidavit.

“I spoke to the mother of the victim who said they attended Living Waters Church and the male’s name was Juan,” the officer wrote in the affidavit while also discovering “that he was involved in a sex offense from the past.”

The officer spoke to another detective and learned he had also taken a report on Guerra from another girl. In both cases, the girls “disclosed that while traveling to church in a church van a man named Ubaldo” abused them, according to charging documents.

Guerra told each girl that he would harm the girl’s sister if they told anyone, the charges state. One girl told police “she didn’t say anything to anyone because she thought she was protecting her sister.”

Guerra was arrested Thursday and booked into jail.