SACRAMENTO — A former Cleo Gordon Elementary School vice principal was found guilty Tuesday of two felony charges of committing lewd acts on a child under the age of 14.
After four days of testimony from prosecution witnesses and an hour-long defense case, it took jurors about an hour to find Christopher J. Vargas, 39, guilty of the sex crimes.
Vargas faces a 23-years-to-life sentence, according to prosecutor Shelly McGill. Before his trial got under way, Vargas turned down a three-year plea deal offered by prosecutors in exchange for his guilty pleas.
Vargas’ defense case relied largely on the testimony of his wife, who said both victims had either changed their stories or changed their minds about what Vargas did to them. McGill told jurors in her closing argument that Vargas had brainwashed his wife.
In March, one boy, 11, said he awakened in his bed and realized Vargas was kneeling next to the bed with his hand on his crotch. The next morning, the boy told his mother, who talked with the boy’s older brother, who described Vargas touching him inappropriately several years earlier when the boy was 11 or 12.
Jurors also heard testimony that McGill labeled “creepy behavior” — about Vargas leering at the boys when they showered with him when camping and Vargas touching them in the crotch area when they wrestled. The younger boy also described what Vargas called “shower study time,” in which Vargas would help the boy with homework while the boy showered.
“He is sexually attracted to boys,” McGill said of Vargas before the verdicts.
Judge Roland L. Candee ordered Vargas back to court Nov. 15 for sentencing. Vargas has been in jail since shortly after his arrest in March.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.