FORMER CHURCH ASSISTANT SENTENCED TO 45 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MOLESTING TWO GIRLS UNDER THE AGE OF 14 AFTER BEFRIENDING THEIR FAMILIES THROUGH THE CHURCH

WESTMINSTER, Calif. – A former church assistant was sentenced to 45 years to life in state prison on Friday for molesting two girls under the age of 14 after befriending their families through the church.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Branden Edward Shumate, 39, Koloa, Hawaii Found guilty by a jury on Feb. 8, 2016 of:

  • (3) Felony accounts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14

Sentencing Enhancement Allegation

  • Lewd acts upon multiple victims
  • 45 years to life in state prison
  • Mandatory sex offender registration pursuant to penal code 290

Circumstances of the Case

  • Between Sept. 13, 1997, and Sept. 12, 1998, the defendant, then 18 years old, worked as an assistant in a church where his father was a pastor and leader of the church in Lake Forest. During that time the defendant organized a trip to an Irvine water park for members of the church.
  • During the summer of 1997, a family member of 6-year-old Jane Doe 1, who was a member of the defendant’s father’s church, dropped her daughter off at the church to be taken to the water park.
  • The defendant digitally penetrated Jane Doe 1 after she had fallen asleep while waiting for the other children attending the water park to arrive. The victim did not report the crime at the time.
  • Between Sept. 12, 1998, and Sept. 13, 2003, the defendant remained in contact with Jane Doe 1’s family. During that time, Jane Doe 1 avoided contact with the defendant.
  • Between Sept. 13, 2003, and Sept. 12, 2005, the defendant helped then 12-year-old Jane Doe 1’s family move their belongings into a different residence.
  • During the move, the defendant drove in a vehicle alone with the victim behind her family’s moving truck. Shumate pulled into an empty parking lot and forced Jane Doe 1 to orally copulate him.
  • On one occasion in 2006, Shumate attempted to make contact with the victim. The defendant subsequently moved to Hawaii with his family after attempting to contact the victim.
  • Jane Doe 1 then told a family member and a friend about the crimes. The family member then contacted the Riverside Sheriff’s Department, who began investigating this case and transferred the investigation to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD).
  • On one occasion in August 2010, the defendant was alone with 10-year-old Jane Doe 2 and attempted to engage in a sexually explicit conversation with the victim.
  • Between August 2010, and March 31, 2011, Jane Doe 2’s family moved into the defendant’s family’s home.
  • On another evening between Dec. 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, the defendant was alone with Jane Doe 2. Shumate entered the bathroom where Jane Doe 2 was taking a shower and sexually assaulted Jane Doe 2 while she was drying off from the shower.
  • In August 2011, Jane Doe 2’s family moved to Alaska, where the victim told her mother about the crime.
  • Jane Doe 2’s mother reported the crime to her local police department in Alaska, who began investigating this case and transferred the investigation to OCSD.
  • The defendant was arrested by the Honolulu Police Department after having returned to Hawaii after March 31, 2011, and was extradited to Orange County.

At the sentencing on Friday, Jane Doe 1 made an emotional impact statement to the court pursuant to Marsy’s Law thanking the judge and the District Attorney’s Office for our efforts.

Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Kristin Bracic, Sexual Assault Unit

Orange County District Attorney / Case #12HF2093 / April 30, 2018

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