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Man convicted in Napa court of child rape, faces life sentence

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A 39-year-old Napa man faces a potential life sentence in state prison after his conviction on sexual assault allegations involving two relatives, prosecutors announced.

Samuel James Cereda was convicted Friday in Napa County Superior Court on 50 charges, including seven counts of child rape, 14 other counts of aggravated sexual assault, and 27 counts of forcible lewd acts on a child, the office of District Attorney Allison Haley said in a news release. Jurors in the nine-day trial overseen by Judge Scott R.L. Young also accepted special allegations of sex offenses against more than one victim, substantial sexual conduct with victims, and committing crimes by force, fear, violence, or duress.

Prosecutors said the charges stemmed from the sexual assault of one family member in Napa County between 2017 and 2019, and of another relative from 2009 to 2011 in San Bernardino County. The survivors were between 8 and 13 years old at the time of the abuse, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Cereda was arrested at his San Francisco workplace in September 2019, after a Napa County student told a school counselor Cereda had abused her for several years, Napa Police said at the time, adding that the resulting investigation led to the discovery of a second victim outside the county.

The Napa County District Attorney’s Office took jurisdiction over all the allegations against Cereda and prosecuted them as a single case, and both survivors – now between the ages of 16 and 20 – testified at trial, prosecutors said.

Cereda, who has been held without bail in the Napa County jail since his arrest, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 1.

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