Bike gang leader found guilty of raping minor

Bike gang leader found guilty of raping minor

A jury found known Mongols motorcycle gang member Michael Reyes
guilty on 27 felony counts in connection with continually raping
and abusing an underage minor from 2002 to 2008 in Morgan Hill, Los
Banos and Hollister.
A jury found known Mongols motorcycle gang member Michael Reyes guilty on 27 felony counts in connection with continually raping and abusing an underage minor from 2002 to 2008 in Morgan Hill, Los Banos and Hollister.

The 56-year-old man, and local chapter president of the Mongols motorcycle gang, was arrested in March after an adult filed a report to the Hollister Police Department that he sexually abused a minor over an eight-year span. The district attorney added more charges after initially announcing 16 of them when he was first arrested.

The jury’s Nov. 19 decision came after a four-day trial that included testimony from the now 18-year-old victim, her mother and an expert in child psychology. Evidence included a phone conversation between Reyes and the victim referring to the crimes.

Reyes was accused of 28 felony counts connected to the crimes, according to court documents. But the jury dismissed the first count – which was described as an alternate, or umbrella charge – after they found Reyes guilty of the other 27 more detailed charges.

The charges included sexual penetration with a foreign object, lewd or lascivious acts, and forcible acts of sexual penetration with a child on Jan. 1, 2002. The charge of lewd or lascivious acts was filed with two special allegations.

He was also found guilty of charges stemming from Jan. 1 2005 that including rape by force, lewd or lascivious acts and seduction with a child under the age of 14, all with special allegations. Additional charges included an April 20, 2005 allegations of rape and lewd or lascivious acts, both with special allegations.

The 27 charges included rape and lewd or lascivious acts on May 1, 2005, Nov. 1; 2005, Nov. 1, 2006; Jan. 1, 2007; June 1, 2007; Sept. 1, 2007; Dec. 1, 2008; and March 1, 2008. All charges had special allegations.

In total, Reyes was found guilty of nine counts of lewd or lascivious acts, 12 counts of rape, one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object, three counts of oral copulation, one count of forcible acts of sexual penetration and seduction of a 14-year-old.

In closing arguments, Reyes’ lawyer Mario Andrews argued there wasn’t enough evidence to find his client guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, he said.

“If you have a doubt, the benefit of that doubt goes to Mr. Reyes,” he said.

Andrews compared the charges made by the prosecutors to that of a class in law school – the more, the better, he said.

“It’s overzealous,” he said. “A lot of things they charged, they can’t prove.”

Prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney Karen Forcum argued that there was no reason to doubt the witnesses and that Reyes used his older age to force the sexual encounters, she said.

Afterward, Forcum believed it was the victim’s testimony that helped lead to the decision by the jury, she said.

“Hopefully, this allows her to move on with her young life,” Forcum said.

Andrews did not return a phone call before press time.

No date has been set for sentencing, according to court documents.

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