Frederick Munch mug

A Solvang farm manager convicted earlier this year on nine counts of child sexual assault involving an 11-year-old girl is planning to appeal his 41-years-to-life sentence, according to court records.

Frederick L. Munch, 70, filed a notice of appeal with California's 2nd District Court of Appeal on March 20, six days after Santa Maria Superior Court Judge John McGregor sentenced him to 26 years in state prison — followed by a second sentence of 15 years to life. The sentence was based on several felony counts including lewd and lascivious acts by force or fear, forcible sexual penetration by a foreign object, aggravated sexual assault of a minor, and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies arrested Munch on April 14, 2017, after the Lompoc Police Department received a report of suspected child molestation. He pleaded not guilty to all charges later that month.

According to transcripts and documents filed in Santa Maria Superior Court, Munch watched the 11-year-old victim, referred to only in court records as Jane Doe, three times a week since the age of 6. During a November 2017 preliminary hearing, sheriff's Deputy Jonathan Fleming said Doe's mother first noticed signs of possible abuse on April 12, 2017, when she went to pick her daughter up from Munch's Oak Street home.

Fleming testified that Doe was hiding in a playroom closet, wearing only a sports bra, when her mother arrived at Munch's house. Her underwear was lying near the bed in the playroom, and Munch was wearing only spandex bike shorts.

In a later interview with a member of Santa Barbara County's Sexual Assault Response Team, Doe said Munch had assaulted her four times in the house playroom between December 2016 and April 2017.

During an incident on Dec. 1, 2016, Munch reportedly shed his clothes and held a fully-clothed Doe down on a mattress. Doe told investigators she fought off Munch's advances by keeping her knees up. Munch assaulted her again three days later, but Doe was able to free herself from his grip.

Doe recalled that on April 10, 2017, Munch pulled her pants down and "poked" at her private area with his penis. To escape, Doe said she "kicked Munch in the nuts."

The final instance of abuse occurred two days later, on April 12, when Munch began to manually stimulate her while pleasuring himself. She described feeling "awkward and uncomfortable," telling investigators that Munch instructed her keep the incident from her mother. Doe said Munch told her that "something very bad would happen" if she spoke about it, and added that he threatened to take toys from the playroom.

After denying knowledge of any physical contact with Doe, Munch, in an interview with Fleming, admitted to being in frequent sexual contact with the child. Munch maintained that he tried to resist Doe's requests, but said he eventually complied with them so he could be there to support her.

During his sentencing, Munch apologized for causing harm and trauma to the family. He maintains that he is not a sexual predator.

"I have never assaulted or threatened anyone, especially a child ... ," he said. "I am not a threat to society and have spent my entire life to make the world a better place."

In a letter read aloud before the court, Doe's mother called Munch a "horrible, disgusting man."

"You were someone I trusted, someone I thought would never hurt such a small, innocent child," she wrote. "After everything, we saw you as family and cared for you. You took something from my daughter, and fear and mistrust will now have to be something she will learn and grow from."

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga



Mathew Burciaga is a Santa Maria Times reporter who covers education, agriculture and public safety. Prior to joining the Times, Mathew ran a 114-year-old community newspaper in Wyoming. He owns more than 40 pairs of crazy socks from across the globe.

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