Over the course of the last month Tulare Police Detectives have been working a substantial case involving multiple victims of child molestation. 

The investigation began when an adult confidential victim, who was approximately 8 or 9 years old at the time, walked into the Tulare Police Department lobby and reported to have been molested on multiple occasions by a youth pastor at the Valley Bible Church in Visalia. The crimes are reported to have occurred in the mid to late 1990’s.

Detectives launched an investigation and found out there were numerous other victims from the same suspect who has been identified as 48-year-old Steven Arey who’s currently employed as a correctional officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

An additional suspect from the same church has been accused of the same type of crimes and was apparently an associate of Arey’s. He’s a retired Corrections Sergeant also with CDCR and has been identified as 56-year-old Kevin Sandoval who was living in Tulare at the time the crimes were reported to have been committed.

On November 20, Tulare Police Department Detectives presented their case to the courts and obtained arrest warrants for both suspects.

On November 21, detectives responded to Rancho Cordova, Calif., and arrested Sandoval at his home. He was then transported back to Tulare Police Department for booking and interviews before being booked into Tulare County Jail on multiple counts of child molest.

On November 22, Arey was arrested at work at the High Desert Prison in Los Angeles County and transported back to Tulare Police Department for booking and interviews. He was then booked into Tulare County Jail also on multiple counts of child molestation.

As of today the Tulare County District Attorney’s office has filed 5 counts of child molestation on Sandoval and 15 counts on Arey.

There is a possibility that there may be more victims to these crimes. If you have any information regarding this investigation we urge you to contact Detective Matt Muller at (559)685-2300 x 2157.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is urged to call the Tulare Police Department at any of the following numbers: days, nights and weekends at (559) 684-4290, anonymously 24-hours a day (559) 685-2300 Ext: 4445 or  online at https://www.tipsoft.com/index.aspx?P=WebTips

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