A 73-year-old man who molested a 5-year-old girl at a church on the University of San Diego campus, then fled the country, was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in state prison.
Chester Yang pleaded guilty to a count of forcible lewd acts on a child for the April 2017 crime and received additional time for having a prior strike and serious felony prior conviction.
Yang was convicted in 2001 for committing lewd acts on a child in San Diego County.
He was also convicted in 1981 for molesting a 6-year-old neighbor and in 1984 for peeping in a locker room on the UC Santa Barbara campus, Deputy District Attorney Melissa Diaz said in court.
The prosecutor called Yang’s most recent case “his most brazen” due to it occurring in public and said it demonstrated “a pattern of escalating behavior.”
According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Yang fled to Taiwan one day after his family was contacted by police regarding the 2017 case.
In a statement issued shortly after his arraignment in San Diego Superior Court, the DA’s Office said Taiwan would not extradite Yang to San Diego, but with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, Taiwanese authorities agreed to alert the United States if Yang left the country.
Interpol alerted U.S. authorities in May of last year that Yang had flown to Singapore and he was extradited to San Diego late last year, the DA’s Office said.
The victim from the 2017 case attended Yang’s sentencing hearing, and Detective Crystal Duerr of the San Diego Police Department read a statement written by the girl.
“When a kid walks into a church so their parent can practice for Mass, should they have to worry about their safety? No, the answer is no, and they definitely shouldn’t have to wonder for five years if the bad guy will ever get caught,” the victim wrote. “Lucky for me, after all those years, you are finally where you are supposed to be, in jail.”
City News Service contributed to this article.