gavel.jpgA San Francisco man was convicted Thursday of multiple charges of molesting children, some of them dating back to 1989, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Julius Lewis, 50, came under suspicion in August 2007 when a 6-year-old girl told a nurse that he was sexually assaulting her. The girl visited Lewis’ home because she was a friend of his daughter, and her foster mother was acquainted with Lewis, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, a San Francisco police inspector made contact with Lewis’ stepdaughter, and learned that Lewis had also sexually abused her in the late 1980s, according to the district attorney’s office.

While most of the stepdaughter’s abuse occurred in Texas, the family had lived for a brief period in San Francisco in 1989. The victim, now an adult, told police that Lewis had sexual intercourse with her at least once a week while they lived in San Francisco, including on Oct. 17, 1989, the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake. She was 11 years old at the time.

Police also uncovered several other victims in Texas, including Lewis’ stepsister and two friends of his stepdaughter, and discovered a prior conviction from Texas for indecency with a child. The court allowed three of the prior victims to testify and prosecutors introduced the former conviction as evidence of Lewis’ alleged propensity to commit similar crimes.

The defense argued that there was reasonable doubt because there was no DNA or medical evidence, and that the statute of limitations had expired for the 1989 offenses in San Francisco, according to the district attorney’s office. In addition, defense attorneys said there was insufficient evidence for the 2007 charge.

However, a jury on Thursday afternoon found Lewis guilty of five counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 after five hours of deliberation, prosecutors said.

The jury also found that he had committed those crimes against more than one victim, and that the statute of limitations was extended for four of the acts, which were committed in 1989.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18. Lewis faces a maximum sentence of 23 years to life in state prison.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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