Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

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Source: District Attorney of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that on March 25, 2019, a Santa Barbara jury found Robert Charles Hawley, age 84, guilty of nine counts of child molestation and sexual assault committed on three family members.   The jury also found true the special allegation that the defendant committed sex crimes against multiple victims. 

The successful prosecution of this serial pedophile was the result of the actions of a Good Samaritan calling 911 when she observed the defendant engaging in inappropriate touching of a young girl in a local supermarket.  The 911 caller saw something odd and decided she should say something, and in so doing provided the authorities with a description of the subjects as well as a license plate of an associated vehicle.  Through the diligent work of the initial responders, and the excellent investigation conducted by Detective Megan Harrison of the Santa Barbara Police Department, the defendant was located and arrested.  During the course of the investigation, Detective Harrison also uncovered multiple additional women who had been sexually victimized by the defendant. Three of these women testified at his trial.

District Attorney Dudley commends the Good Samaritan for following up on her intuition, and comments that, “The victims and their families showed great courage in testifying and confronting their abuser, therefore holding him accountable for these horrendous acts of molestation and sexual abuse.” District Attorney Dudley also expressed her appreciation to Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig, as well as his co-counsel Lena Alker by stating, “Cases like this are extraordinarily complex because of all the family dynamics, the law, and the age of the defendant. This successful prosecution was possible because of the extraordinary prosecutors and other members of this office who work tirelessly to ensure that justice was served.” 

Robert Charles Hawley is scheduled to be sentenced by the Honorable Judge Brian Hill on May 29, 2019 in Department 2 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.   He is facing 138 years to life in prison.

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a-1556016198 Mar 27, 2019 10:27 AM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

Piling on an 84 year old probably in dementia seems a bit unseemly. The tragedy here is multi faceted. The trauma of such events is partially the result of our societal prurience about things sexual. That said: NO PERSON SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY, TRUST OR RESPONSIBILITY TO SERVE THEIR OWN PURPOSES AND CREATE CONFUSION AND AMBIVALENCE IN THE MINDS OF THOSE EXPLOITED.

oceandrew Mar 27, 2019 06:32 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

Anonymous @ 12PM. It's grand of you to want to forgive this perpetrator for reasons only you seem aware of. Jolly christian of you though it's not your place to do so as you weren't a victim or, I gather, related to any of the victims. Your right to express opinions is sacrosanct but don't mistake those opinions for facts.

madrededios Mar 27, 2019 04:01 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

wildturkeyway stated that he/she was a juror on this case, and as such has more knowledge of the facts than you do. If the defense had felt that wtw was inclined to respond to this case in a hyper emotional manner, wtw would not have been chosen as a juror. I have refrained from posting some of the facts of this case in part because they are just too ugly, and mostly out of respect for the victims involved. Finding this sexual predator guilty will bring some measure of solace thus aiding in the healing process. I keep wondering if thou doth protest too much?

SBLocalGal Mar 27, 2019 12:41 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

The FACTS are that he was found guilty in a court of law, this isn't about speculation. Encouraging pity due to his age, etc. and attempting to blame society for these types of trauma amounts to deflect responsibility from this monster that committed an horrific crime to innocent children. Reactions such as this are what make it difficult for victims of molestation to tell others about it.

madrededios Mar 27, 2019 12:05 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

One can only hope that this comment is made out of ignorance. To have the knowledge of the acts perpetrated upon these unsuspecting innocents by this 84 year old decades ago and to claim that the resultant trauma is partially due to societal prurience is nauseating.

a-1556016198 Mar 27, 2019 12:00 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

Turkey: You have no more knowledge of the 'facts' than do I. I do have some concern about a vindictive society and the lack of healing for all the parties. You may wish to examine your hyper emotional response to this.

wildturkeyway Mar 27, 2019 11:04 AM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

What is unseemly is that a grandfather would sexually molest his grandchildren repeatedly over several decades. What is unseemly is that someone, YOU, would attempt to minimize the actions of such a predator without knowledge of the facts.

SBLocalGal Mar 27, 2019 11:02 AM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

Your comment about "piling on an 84 year old probably in dementia seems a bit unseemly" is sickening. His age and current (hypothetical) state of mind has no relevance in how his crimes should be viewed. And don't forget that he started committing these crimes decades ago...not that it should matter, as he would deserve no leniency even if he committed them yesterday.

wildturkeyway Mar 26, 2019 05:56 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

There were a number of unsung heroes in this case including an unrelated & savvy member of our community, a close friend of one of the victims, several victims of "uncharged" offenses, a number of law enforcement officers, members of the District Attorney's Office and the courageous victims of this monster who painfully recounted his sickening and damaging actions. It was not easy to sit on this jury and listen to the recounting of these numerous shattered lives. I am tempted to go to the sentencing just to witness the judge's gavel sink the final nail.

Flicka Mar 26, 2019 04:58 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

Congratulations for "Good Samaritan" for saving future victims of this man. Parents need to discuss inappropriate touching with children and let them know they need to tell you immediately if they are in an uncomfortable situation.

TheMole Mar 26, 2019 04:47 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

I'm beyond grateful that he will be getting a prison sentence opposed to be placed on supervised probation. Probation is the WORST at supervising sex offenders and I would not have trusted our Probation department with supervising him. If placed on Probation.. they would more than likely have him check into their office by the old Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall that now services juvenile probationers ALONG with adult probationers/parolees (some sex offenders) in a building on the same campus that less than 20 feet away from the juvenile services office! What a disgrace. 138 years to life in prison I'm okay with. Keep him off the streets and our children safe! Thank you to whomever called it in.

a-1556016198 Mar 26, 2019 02:48 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

District Attorney Dudley, Detective Megan Harrison, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig, co-counsel Lena Alker --- Many thanks to you. Superior talents you all have and you are appreciated. The Good Samaritan, you made a difference in the lives of many children and women. Thank you.

madrededios Mar 26, 2019 02:08 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

These young girls did not have the support system in place to avoid this tragedy, and their lives are destroyed as a result. We must keep a better eye on our "innocents", and err on the side of caution. And if that means that grandpa is not allowed to spend alone time with a singular grandchild, so be it. As young women we are urged to walk in the company of another to our cars, etc., surely such cautions should be taken with our "innocents", as they are even more vulnerable.

a-1556016198 Mar 26, 2019 12:43 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

Thank you, Good Samaritan, whoever you are. Just think: you saved who knows how many other children from the predation of this sick, sick man? I feel sorrow for those he harmed and also feel great happiness that he will rot in prison.

SBLocalGal Mar 26, 2019 12:30 PM
Elderly Santa Barbara Man Convicted of Child Molestation

Kudos to those responsible for nailing this creep. Unfortunately, it comes too late to help his victims that will forever be damaged from his actions. If nothing else, people should look at this guy's photo and remind themselves that predators come in all forms and are often someone they feel should be trusted. Not recommending paranoia-just awareness. Having been there myself, I hope these girls/women get the therapy they undoubtedly need to move forward in their lives.

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