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East Palo Alto masseur pleads no contest to sexual battery charges

 

An East Palo Alto man who operated a massage business out of a shed in his backyard for up to 30 years pleaded no contest to sexual battery charges on Monday, San Mateo County prosecutors said Tuesday.

Bernardino Valle, 67, was arrested in 2014 after a woman walked out of a massage when he grabbed her breasts and tried to reach into her genital area.

The woman told her daughter, who encouraged her to call police.

Valle had been operating the business out of a shed outside his home in the 2200 block of Brentwood Court in East Palo Alto. He claimed his massages could treat anything from minor aches and pains to fertility problems, according to police.

After his arrest, reports about the case were widely distributed on Spanish-speaking news stations and 21 additional victims came forward, prosecutors said. Ten of the women who came forward had cases that were still in the statute of limitations.

He was initially charged with more than 20 counts of sexual penetration, sexual battery and other charges. On Monday, he pleaded no contest to five counts of sexual battery and two counts of sexual penetration, according to the district attorney's office.

Valle is expected to be sentenced to up to 13 years in prison when he returns to court on Feb. 19. He remains in custody on $500,000 bail, prosecutors said.

Related content:

Masseur pleads 'not guilty' for alleged sex crimes

East Palo Alto masseur arrested second time for sex crimes

East Palo Alto massage therapist arrested for sexual battery

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