Huntington Beach

Church Worship Leader Sentenced to Prison in Molestation of Boy With Autism

A Huntington Beach church worship leader, who prosecutors say molested a boy with autism because of the child's inability to report the crime, was sentenced Thursday to nearly 11 years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Jeffrey Adam Tracy recorded some of the sex acts with the victim and emailed them to acquaintances, according to prosecutors, who said the now-39-year-old man confessed the crimes to police.

Federal authorities started investigating Tracy in April 2013 when they suspected he was uploading child porn videos. That led to his arrest in September 2013.

During the investigation, authorities discovered Tracy had molested a male relative between 2008 and 2012, starting when the boy was 5, according to prosecutors.

Tracy was previously sentenced in December 2014 to 36 years to life in prison. But a three-justice panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed Tracy's convictions on four of seven counts that included lewd acts on a child and recording a minor during a sex act. The panel found there wasn't proper corroborating evidence of those crimes beyond Tracy's confession and ordered that he be re-sentenced.

The victim did not testify in the trial "and there was no medical evidence indicating multiple molestations,'' the justices noted.

The victim's mother and grandmother gave emotional impact statements to the court during Thursday's sentencing.

"Jeffrey took advantage of (the victim) and his autism disability, knowing that (the boy) would not be able to effectively communicate to anyone about the horrible acts that were being done to him," she said. "Jeffrey has no remorse for what he has done and all he can think of is getting out of prison and will probably harm another child if he is released."

The boy's other grandmother told the judge, "The victims of sexual abuse and molestation suffer a life sentence of being emotionally locked in. This current ruling is insulting and absurd.''

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