Social worker pleads 'no contest' in child sex-abuse case

Manuel Anton Sedillo-Messer had sexual relations with minors he supervised

A former San Mateo County social worker who oversaw the cases of vulnerable East Palo Alto children has pleaded no contest Feb. 19 to 10 molestation counts of minor girls, the San Mateo County District Attorney's office said.

Manuel Anton Sedillo-Messer, 39, faced 30 felony charges for engaging in sexual acts with three underage girls. Sedillo-Messer was assigned to the family of the first victim in 2011 and became friendly with the girl, culminating in a sexual relationship for one month in the summer of 2014. Seventeen of the counts applied to his abuse of this victim, including at the Child Protective Services office in East Palo Alto, according to the DA's office.

That same July, he allegedly took the second victim to the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose and engaged in sexual relations with her. One of the first two victims eventually reported the abuse to her mother, who notified police, the DA's office noted.

He also allegedly started molesting the third victim, who was on his caseload, when she was 16. The abuse continued until her 18th birthday, when she was released from the child-welfare system, according to police and court documents.

Sedillo-Messer agreed to a nine-year prison term on five felony counts related to the first two victims. Prosecutors agreed not to charge him with violating a no-contact order after he allegedly appeared at a sports game in East Palo Alto that the first victim was attending, according to the DA.

Sedillo-Messer is scheduled to return to court for sentencing and review of a restitution report on April 12. He remains in custody on $2 million bail.

A civil lawsuit was filed on June 11, 2015, against Sedillo-Messer on behalf of the first victim by her court-appointed guardian, according to San Mateo County Superior Court documents.

San Mateo County and others in the county's employ are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, which alleges breach of mandatory duty, negligent hiring, retention supervision and training and negligence.

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