Charges dismissed against city official accused of molesting young female relative

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Charges were dismissed Thursday against a San Diego city
official accused of molesting a young female relative eight years ago.

Mario Sierra, 48, was appointed last year to the post of director of San
Diego's Transportation and Stormwater Department. He was charged a year ago
with a felony count of committing a lewd act on a child and was placed on
unpaid leave pending the outcome of the case.

A jury on Feb. 1 deadlocked on whether Sierra molested the girl. Two
jurors were undecided, three favored guilt and seven voted not guilty. The girl
alleged the lewd act happened when she was 9 or 10 years old.

In a hearing this morning, the District Attorney's Office made a motion
to dismiss the case.

Spokesman Steve Walker said his office is ethically bound to proceed on
cases only when prosecutors believe they can prove the charges beyond a
reasonable doubt.

Deputy District Attorney Fanny Yu alleged that the defendant molested
the girl in 2004, when she was 9 or 10 years old.

The girl, now 18, told her mother about the alleged abuse in 2010 after
they watched an “Oprah” show on the subject of abuse.

A year ago, the girl made a “pretext call” to the defendant, in which
he admitted the molestation, Yu told the jury.

The girl testified that Sierra put her hand on his private area while
they were lying on the couch and watching a television show in which people
were having sex.

Defense attorney Thomas Warwick told the jury that there was “no
inappropriate touching” of the girl by his client. Warwick said the girl's
mother told her family she was molested as a child and constantly told her
children to report any sexual abuse right away.

Categories: KUSI