Molestation retrial ends in conviction for Menlo Park man

Editor's Note: The original story initially stated there had been two trials on these charges; there have been three.

By Sandy Brundage | Almanac Staff Writer

A retrial on multiple charges of child molestation ended with a conviction for a 50-year-old Menlo Park man on Wednesday (Nov. 20).

Horacio Carlos Teran was found guilty of three counts of felony molestation, and acquitted of two counts, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Mr. Teran was arrested in 2010 after a 10-year-old neighbor alleged that the man had fondled him during games of tag in the defendant's backyard, the district attorney's office said.

A 12-day trial held in March ended with a deadlocked jury. Eight jurors voted guilty, two not guilty and two were undecided.

Yet another trial in September 2012 ended with a mistrial when, after three days, the court granted the defense motion over prosecution objection, according to the district attorney's office.

The defendant's attorney during the first trial, Michael Armstrong, had told the media that while his client did play tag, no lewd touching occurred.

The case returns to court on Jan. 24 for sentencing. Mr. Teran is in custody on $300,000 bail, after the judge denied the prosecutor's request for "no bail" status.


Like this comment
Posted by A disgrace
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 25, 2014 at 7:42 am

Menlo Park child molester skips court sentencing, reported missing

By Bonnie Eslinger

Daily News Staff Writer

POSTED: 01/25/2014 03:00:00 AM PST

Web Link

A 50-year-old Menlo Park man who was supposed to be sentenced Friday for child molestation failed to appear in court, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.


What a disgrace all round, from the DA's office mishandling of the case to the judge.

There were THREE- count em- THREE trials.

The first one ended in a mistrial because the prosecutor, Melissa Mckowan, failed to turn over witness testimony to the defense.

The second ended in a mistrial.

How it is that this guy Teran was able to skip out of town?

What a disgrace. This case was mishandled at every stage by everyone involved.

Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm

[Portion removed - speculation.] Bail for three child molestation felonies, according to this Almanac story, was a mere $300,000 - easy enough for him to raise: a quick Google search shows he owns his home in the area. It was clearly a no-brainer for him to split with such a low bail.

Who set bail so low it was easy for him to flee? Who didn't lock him up pending sentencing? The perpetrator of this travesty is the judge, the dishonorable Lisa Novak. She ignored the fact that his denials and the conviction proved he is a bald-faced liar, that he was a huge flight risk, that h showed no remorse, and that our community does not approve of crimes with major victims, especially when they are young children.

[Portion deleted. We don't know if this is true.]

I have this question: do judges like Ms. Novak serve for life, or can they be replaced in a normal or recall election? Will you remember this case if/when she comes up for re-election?

Like this comment
Posted by Answer
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm

California state judges (unlike federal) are not appointed for life, and are elected for terms of six years at the superior court level. HOWEVER, before you blame the judge, realize that if the prosecutor had not committed misconduct (refusing to turn over evidence to the defense), the first trial would not have been declared a mistrial and likely none of this would have happened.

Like this comment
Posted by Seeker of truth
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Mark from Atherton should avoid making misinformed at best and possibly slanderous comments about Mr Teran and First Republic Bank. There are no client complaints on Mr Teran's FINRA record which can be viewed online. Mr. Teran was born in the United States and is a US citizen.

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