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Maldonado trial date continued -- again

Former Shafter Code Enforcement Officer Matthew Maldonado saw his trial date set back to May 8, on charges on five counts of felony child molestion/annoyance.

A readiness hearing was set for April 24 in the Shafter Court at 9 a.m. At this hearing, counsels discuss discovery of information and attempt to resolve the case before it goes to a jury trial.

Jared Thomas, Maldonado’s counsel, said that they were were discussing discovery in the case witht he District Attorney’s Office.

Maldonado was arrested in January 2022. These charges were pursued after recordings of practiocer sessions were obtained, and there appeared to be inappropriate touching on the videos during a session involving Maldonado and unnamed minor females. The practices took place in the garage of Shafter High School girls wrestling coach Eli Espericueta. Espericueta gave the tapes to the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, which then investigated and ultimately decided that an arrest was warranted.

It was reported that Maldonado was also investigated a few years ago by the Sheriff’s Department in Wasco while Maldonado was the code enforcement officer for the City of Wasco, but charges were not filed.


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