STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — A Stockton man who founded a group dedicated to helping keep young people out of trouble was arrested by Manteca police on suspicion of sex abuse.
Samuel Nunez, the former executive director of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, was arrested Friday afternoon after a monthlong investigation.
He faces charges that include the continuous sexual abuse of a minor. His bail was set at $2 million.
“On April 23, the victim contacted us to report a series of events that occurred when she was between 9 and 12 years old,” said Manteca Police Department spokesman Sgt. Gregg Beall.
Sgt. Beall told FOX40 the female victim is a relative of Nunez’s. Police say the alleged abuse happened several years ago.
Now, detectives are looking into whether or not there are other victims.
“No matter when it occurred, if something occurred, we need people to come forward,” Beall said. “I realize that it’s a traumatic thing to have to sort of relive that, talking to the detective and then, ultimately, maybe the court. But when individuals come forward to report these types of incidents, it protects future kids from being victimized.”
Nunez is a former gang member who was once praised for turning his life around. He founded Fathers & Families in 2003 after being released from prison.
The group posted to its social media channels Sunday that Nunez was no longer employed by them, but its stated mission of helping vulnerable families would continue.
Fathers & Families worked with the Stockton Unified School District during the 2019-2020 school year. The district alerted parents of Nunez’s arrest and said their contract with the organization was not renewed but advised parents to contact Manteca police if they are aware of any potential victims.
In 2020, Nunez was selected by Stockton City Manager Harry Black to sit on the city manager’s Review Board, which monitors and provides insight and recommendations to Stockton police on community relations.
The city of Stockton said he did not attend the latest January and March meetings.
Sgt. Beall said even after more than 22 years on the job, these types of child sex abuse investigations never get any easier.
“It’s difficult for the investigators to have to listen to that, but they still have a job to do and it’s important to know that the end result is what matters so that no further children are victimized and that’s really what drives them,” he said.
San Joaquin County has three contracts with Fathers and Families and has announced they will not be renewing those contracts once they expire on June 30, 2021.
The county is immediately finding alternative services for those enrolled in the program.
Nunez is set to appear in court on Tuesday.
Anyone with any information about the case is asked to call Manteca police.