ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE
Case # 13HF0941
Date: January 8, 2018
*Defendant convicted in absentia
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was extradited from Mexico after fleeing during his trial for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.
Defendant: Robert Lewis Carella, 38, Vista
Found guilty by a jury in absentia on June 22, 2015, of the following felony counts:
- (2) Lewd act with a child under 14
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child
Maximum Sentence: 20 years in state prison
Sentencing: To be determined
Circumstances of the Case
- At the time of the crime, Carella was in a position of trust with access to the victim, 12-year-old Jane Doe.
Between 2008 and 2010, the defendant continually sexually abused the victim through unlawful sexual contact.
- The abuse was reported to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) by a family member of the victim on March 10, 2013.
- OCSD investigated this case and arrested Carella, who was charged on March 19, 2013.
- In June 2015, the defendant was scheduled to face trial and failed to appear the day of opening statements.
- The trial proceeded in absentia and Carella was convicted by a jury on June 22, 2015, of lewd acts and continuous sexual abuse of Jane Doe.
- Carella remained a fugitive and the U.S. Marshals San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force investigated the defendant’s location at the request of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA).
- U.S. Marshals and the Baja State Police Liaison Unit located the defendant in Tijuana, Mexico, and extradited him to Orange County on Jan. 4, 2018.
The OCDA is dedicated to the apprehension and extradition of serious, violent, and dangerous fugitives from anywhere in the world. The majority of extradition cases involve homicide, sexual assault, gangs, major fraud, and child abduction. OCDA partners with local law enforcement, as well as Interpol, the FBI, U.S. Marshals, State Department, Department of Justice, and Homeland Security in a continuous effort to prosecute fugitives, protect the public, and seek justice for victims. We would like to thank our law enforcement partners with the U.S. Marshals and Baja State Police for their assistance in this case.
Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Woods, Sexual Assault Unit
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff
Michelle Van Der Linden,Spokesperson