A Yucca Valley, California man associated with the anti-LGBT ballot initiative Proposition 8 has confessed to the molestation of multiple young boys over the course of decades. According to the Wisconsin Gazette, Caleb Edward Hesse, 52, a first grade teacher and youth volunteer, has been arraigned on 4 felony counts of lewd conduct upon a child. The San Bernadino District Attorney’s office has said that more charges are pending as the case develops and more victims come forward.
“The crimes are believed to have occurred between the early 1980s and as recently as one week ago,” reads a report from the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Office. “Some of the victims may now be 30 (to) 40 years old.”
Hesse allegedly molested the boys on “countless overnight outings that took place throughout California” and were sponsored by the church where he volunteered, Yucca Valley’s Evangelical Free Church. Hesse has been a first grade teacher at Friendly Hills Elementary School since 1987.
The Gazette has found that Hesse donated in 2008 to the campaign supporting the anti-LGBT ballot initiative Proposition 8. He was also the owner of ProtectMarriage.com, a now-defunct Prop 8 fundraising site, according to LGBT news service Gayopolis.
Proposition 8 declared that the state of California would only recognize heterosexual marriages as valid. It was passed by voters in November of 2008. A series of court challenges have left the status of the measure open-ended after a California judge ruled to send the law on to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.
One of Prop 8’s main authors, newly anointed Bishop Salvatore Cordileone was arrested over the weekend on drunk driving charges.
Hesse, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
(Photo of Prop 8 protesters from 2008 by Fritz Liess via Flickr Commons.)