Jury finds former St. Johns County daycare employee guilty of molesting children

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A jury found a St. Johns County former daycare employee guilty of 16 of the 22 child sex violations related to at least eight students at Chappell Schools.

Jury deliberations were ongoing Wednesday in the trial of Anthony Guadalupe who had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Guadalupe was found guilty on the following counts:

  • 12 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on a person less than 12 years of age,
  • one count of attempted lewd and lascivious molestation
  • 3 counts of committing unnatural or lascivious acts

“Obviously we’re disappointed,” Defense Attorney Terry Shoemaker said. “Young guy. He suffers from mental disabilities. Things we weren’t really able to get into during the trial. A lot more that went on there than people realize.”

The prosecution rested earlier in the day after showing the jury school surveillance video of the incidents. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.

Guadalupe signed a guilty plea deal in October but withdrew his plea in January. With the plea withdrawn, prosecutors added seven additional counts of lewd and lascivious acts.

The 22 charges could mean 103 years in prison. The court did not agree on a sentencing hearing date. The judge set a control date of July 30, and the sentencing date will likely be in August.

The charging document shows the alleged incidents took place between May 26 and July 18, 2022.

MORE: Man accused of molesting children at St. Johns County school withdraws guilty plea, faces 103 years in prison

According to court documents, his attorney said that Guadalupe suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and intellectual deficiency.

Shoemaker said that Guadalupe experienced symptoms of these disorders throughout his daily life, including the times of his alleged offenses.

In July 2022, Guadalupe was fired from Chappell School’s Longleaf campus after an incident was captured on video surveillance, according to investigators.

A father who claims Guadalupe molested his 3-year-old daughter and that the abuse was recorded on surveillance video called it an atrocity.

“Our daughter’s innocence and curiosity and wonderment was all taken away,” he said when Guadalupe withdrew his plea. “We thought that we were going to see justice served today. The delay makes that difficult, but I think we all understand why we have to go through this again.”

Guadalupe’s attorney had intended to present an insanity defense but took that back last week.

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