Gilroy man charged with molesting 4-year-old girl

Chris Smith, 19, has been charged with molesting a four-year-old

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has charged a Gilroy man on two counts of molesting a four-year-old girl.

Chris Gene Smith, 19, was arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today at the South County courthouse in Morgan Hill on charges of oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years or younger, said Lisa McCrary, spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, Smith faces 15 years to life in prison, according to the California Penal Code. He remains in custody without bail, said Deputy District Attorney Clarissa Hamilton, who is prosecuting the case.

Smith is not related to the victim and was visiting a Gilroy family at their home last Thursday night when the alleged molestation occurred, said Sgt. Chad Gallacinao of the Gilroy Police Department.

Gallacinao described Smith as “a friend to the family,” and said an investigation to determine if there are additional incidents or victims is ongoing.

“We will, at all costs, avoid anything that will identify the victim,” he said.

Police responded to a call around 8:45 p.m. Thursday of a man committing “lewd acts on a child,” Gallacinao said.

After interviewing Smith, the alleged victim, and several witnesses inside the home, police arrested Smith, who was later booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, Gallacinao said.

The District Attorney’s office officially filed charges this morning, McCrary said.

Smith is due back in court Friday, Jan. 27 for a plea hearing.

Check back for updates on this story.

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