FRESNO, CA - A former Fresno elementary school teacher's aide faced a judge first, then protesters, as he walked out of court. But his freedom may only last eight more days.
Inside the courtroom, Andres Perez-Esteban stayed mostly in the shadow of his attorney. Then as he walked out, he ducked down and hid behind a family member.
But when he got outside, he couldn't hide from a motivated group of protesters.
"Child molester," they shouted at him. "Watch your children."
The women followed Perez-Esteban around the building and all the way off courthouse grounds, telling him he belongs in jail.
Police arrested the former teacher's aide last month for lewd and lascivious acts with a 9-year-old student. He posted a $40,000 bond and was released.
Prosecutors have now filed three felony charges against him, so the judge increased his bail to $120,000. He was given a week to raise the money.
Former FUSD teacher's aide in court on sex crimes charges
"That's not enough," said Galeah Graim of the $120,000 bail. "I feel like it should be way more. He can get that in a day."
Prosecutors say the sex crimes actually started almost two years ago in August 2015 and only ended last month. They also charged him with an enhancement for grooming the girl. The updated charges made his freedom even more upsetting to the protesters.
"Just that he's walking away, that just proves that the system is dirty," said a protester who wanted to stay anonymous.
"I'm enraged and I'm here to support not just the child in question, but all the children in our elementary school," said another protester who preferred not to give her name. "They should be the first ones that we protect."
Perez-Esteban's attorney said he couldn't really say much in his client's defense yet because he hasn't seen all the evidence. His client will be back in court next week and, if he's convicted, faces up to 24 years in prison.
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