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New Times / News

The following article was posted on September 3rd, 2014, in the New Times - Volume 29, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 29, Issue 6

Cayucos firefighter arrested, charged with 33 felonies

BY RHYS HEYDEN

After a “prioritized” investigation by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Oscar Higueros Jr., 38, of Cayucos, was arrested on suspicion of rape on Aug. 28.

Late on Sept. 2, Higueros was officially charged with 33 felonies by the SLO County District Attorney’s Office.

The 23-page criminal complaint charges Higueros with 12 counts of forcible rape, 12 counts of forcible oral copulation, three counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of selling or transporting a controlled substance, and one count each of dissuading a witness by force, possession of cocaine, and possession of marijuana for sale. All of the rape charges are associated with a 17-year-old “Jane Doe.”

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla told New Times that deputies received a report of child abuse on Aug. 25, launched an investigation, and quickly identified Higueros as a suspect.

“We knew we had to act quickly, because any time you’re dealing with a minor and the potential that there could be more involved, it evokes a lot of emotions from the public,” Cipolla said. “We understand that and feel the same thing, so we make it a priority to go after cases like this.”

On the evening of Aug. 28, deputies served a search warrant on Higueros’ Cayucos residence—where the child abuse incident allegedly took place—and arrested Higueros on the spot.

Higueros was arraigned on Sept. 3, and pleaded not guilty to all 33 charges. His bail was raised from $1 million to $1.2 million at the arraignment, and he remains in custody at SLO County Jail as of Sept. 3.

Higueros’ defense attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, didn’t respond to a request for comment from New Times as of press time.

State records examined by New Times show that the Cayucos Fire Protection District (CFPD) employed Higueros as a part-time captain as recently as 2012, when he drew just more than $8,700 in total pay.

CFPD Chief Mike Minetti confirmed to New Times that Higueros has worked for the district part-time for “five or six years” and has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of his case.

On Sept. 3, Cipolla told New Times that deputies arrested another man—this one from San Francisco—on suspicion of identical crimes in Fremont on Sept. 2. Cipolla said he was arrested “in connection” with Higueros because their alleged actions “involve the same victim.”

The second arrestee hasn’t yet been formally charged by the DA, and doesn’t have an arraignment date set as of press time. As of Sept. 3, he remains in custody at SLO County Jail, with bail set at $1 million.