Social worker pleads 'no contest' in child sex-abuse case

Manuel Anton Sedillo-Messer had sexual relations with minors he supervised

A former San Mateo County social worker who oversaw the cases of vulnerable East Palo Alto children pleaded no contest to 10 molestation counts of minor girls on Feb. 19, the San Mateo County District Attorney's office said.

Manuel Anton Sedillo-Messer, 39, faced 30 felony charges for engaging in sexual acts with three underage girls. Sedillo-Messer was assigned to the family of the first victim in 2011 and became friendly with the girl, culminating in a sexual relationship for one month in the summer of 2014. Seventeen of the counts applied to his abuse of this victim, including at the Child Protective Services office in East Palo Alto, according to the DA's office.

That same July, he allegedly took the second victim to the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose and engaged in sexual relations with her. One of the first two victims eventually reported the abuse to her mother, who notified police, the DA's office noted.

He also allegedly started molesting the third victim, who was on his caseload, when she was 16. The abuse continued until her 18th birthday, when she was released from the child-welfare system, according to police and court documents.

Sedillo-Messer agreed to a nine-year prison term on five felony counts related to the first two victims. Prosecutors agreed not to charge him with violating a no-contact order after he allegedly appeared at a sports game in East Palo Alto that the first victim was attending, according to the DA.

Sedillo-Messer is scheduled to return to court for sentencing and review of a restitution report on April 12. He remains in custody on $2 million bail.

A civil lawsuit was filed on June 11, 2015, against Sedillo-Messer on behalf of the first victim by her court-appointed guardian, according to San Mateo County Superior Court documents.

San Mateo County and others in the county's employ are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, which alleges breach of mandatory duty, negligent hiring, retention supervision and training and negligence.

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5 people like this
Posted by wow
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Feb 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm

I thought these types of crimes would get 25 years to life - 10 years? Really? And he could get out in 5. These girls are scarred for life. I wonder if this happened in Palo Alto to some of our kids if the punishment would fit the crimes better. This appears to be a travesty of justice.

3 people like this
Posted by WTF
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm

I hope the system doesn't let these girls down again! He (protected Services) was suppose to protect and help these young girls NOT continue the abuse!! Shame on him! And shame on the system if they don't punish him the way he deserves to be!

3 people like this
Posted by Parrisha
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:04 pm

I am one of the clients that's part of this case. Manuel is the most amazing guy IVE EVER met in my life. People are so quick to judge! How can you point out sawdust in someone's eye and you can't focus on the log in your own eye!? No one knows him the way I do. He is a man that made one bad mistake? Who doesn't!???

11 people like this
Posted by Longtime Reader
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Parrisha, the law and society make it very clear: Adults conducting sexual relations with persons below the age of consent constitutes child sexual abuse. The damage is permanent and lifelong. The only act more damaging than sexually abusing a child is murdering that child.
Furthermore, this is not one bad mistake, this is a heinous crime perpetrated on three different children for years at a time. It is indeed unfortunate that he will not be locked up much longer since recidivism rates among such perpetrators tend to be high.

4 people like this
Posted by Parrisha
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm

That's the problem. People looking in from the outside know nothing about the FACTS of the case. Simple as that. No one knows for sure what exactly happened besides Manuel and I. So how can we put Shame unto him? He is the best social worker I've ever had in my life. He cared for me more than my my own family did. I'm just glad that it's over. This has dragged on entirely too long. However, I won't just stand by and watch as people berate him for something no one truly knows the truth about.

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Posted by Predator
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2016 at 3:16 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Parrisha💯
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Parrisha💯 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

2 people like this
Posted by Clinical Legal Professional
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 23, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Clinical Legal Professional is a registered user.

We all know the criminal system is broken so badly that there is no hope for it. Mr. Sedillo-Messer is a good person, who exhibited illegal behavior. Let's find out what was going on with him and help him with the best we have to offer - and also for the young girls. Teaching them hate and seek revenge via the law won't help them recover. Bad things happen to everyone. It's not what happens to us; it's how we handle it that counts. We can handle it with grace and strong moral values or turn to the dark side and seek 3rd party revenge.

1 person likes this
Posted by CoachFromAnotherTown
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 26, 2016 at 2:17 pm

CoachFromAnotherTown is a registered user.

@ Clinical Legal Professional - really? Mr. Messer is a "good person" Really?

Life has checks and balances outside of the constitution and outside of the realm of psychobabble.

Mr. Messer is going to prison where he may suffer some of those checks and balances.

1 person likes this
Posted by Parrisha💯
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Parrisha💯 is a registered user.

@CoachFromAnotherTown - You also don't have any idea about what's happening with Sedillo. So try not to be so quick to speak on any behalf. He is a good person. I happen to know that for a fact. It would be great if we speak fact here and not opinions.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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