Goleta man arrested on child molestation charges
ARROYO GRANDE — A Goleta man was arrested by Arroyo Grande police on Thursday in connection with sexual abuse of a child that occurred around 1990, police said.
In August 2020, Arroyo Grande police began its investigation into Daniel Berenguer, 61, of Goleta. A search warrant was served at Mr. Berenguer’s Goleta residence Thursday, and he was arrested after a San Luis Obispo judge issued a Ramey arrest warrant for the case, according to authorities.
Detectives have identified two victims, but believe there could be more. Mr. Berenguer is from the Goleta and Santa Barbara area and coached girls basketball in the early 1990s, police said.
Anyone with information regarding the investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Jeff Smith at 805-473-5122.
Mr. Berenguer was booked at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of lewd acts with a child under 14, forced oral copulation with a child under 14 and continuous sexual abuse of a child. He is being held on $200,000 bail.
— Mitchell White
Arraignment delayed in Kristin Smart case
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Two days after their arrests in the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, Paul and Ruben Flores made their first court appearances Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
Paul, 44, and Ruben, 80, were arraigned on charges of murder and accessory, respectively. No pleas were entered and the arraignment was continued to 1:30 p.m. Monday. The parties are expected to make arguments regarding bail, according to reports.
During Thursday’s hearing, held via Zoom before Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen, Paul Flores was wearing a suit and tie, while Ruben was wearing an orange jumpsuit, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Prior to the hearing, Paul Flores’ attorney, Robert Sanger, filed a motion requesting a protective order in the case, which was granted by Judge Van Rooyen. The protective order prohibits “any extrajudicial statements by any lawyer, party, witness, court official or law enforcement officer concerning this case,” though does not apply to court staff communicating with the media about scheduling, according to reports.
Paul Flores was the last person to have seen Ms. Smart before her disappearance. The Smart family issued a statement following the hearing, which read, “After nearly 25 years of waiting, today’s delay in the arraignment process was not unexpected or surprising. Make no mistake, we have begun the final quest to bring justice for Kristin. We know we are in good hands with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, and we will wait patiently for the process to commence.”
— Mitchell White