A Poway man accused of molesting three boys he was hired to babysit pleaded not guilty Thursday to six counts of lewd acts on a child.
Zayne St. Julien, 22, was arrested Tuesday as he was exiting an airplane at San Diego International Airport, according to police.
St. Julien is accused of molesting the victims – ages 7, 8 and 11 at the time – between July and December of this year, with each alleged incident occurring at the victims’ homes. He faces up to 90 years to life in state prison if convicted of all charges.
In each case, the victim’s parents hired St. Julien through a website known as Sittercity, San Diego police Lt. Adam Sharki said.
One parent reported the alleged molestation to police last month, prompting an investigation, according to the lieutenant. With the assistance of Sittercity personnel, two other boys were identified as victims, and their parents reported the incidents this month, police said.
In a statement, a Sittercity representative said St. Julien had been active on its platform – which connects caregivers with families seeking babysitters – since June of 2019, with no complaints received prior to this year’s allegations.
Sittercity said he underwent 11 background checks since joining the service, “with none identifying any criminal history.”
The statement continued, “Upon receiving a complaint about Mr. St. Julien, we immediately contacted the police, terminated him from the platform and notified any family with whom he had ever communicated. As an industry leader, Sittercity works closely with law enforcement, policy makers and industry peers to advance safeguards and the most up-to-date safety and security measures that will enhance the ability of families to make the most informed decisions when choosing care providers.”
St. Julien’s defense attorney, Dan Greene, said his client was aware there was an accusation against him, yet returned to San Diego earlier this week following an out-of-state family vacation.
Greene said, “He did not know he was going to get arrested at the airport, but absolutely had he been aware that charges were filed or he was going to be asked to come to court, he absolutely would have been here so he can assert his innocence.”
The attorney noted his client’s lack of any criminal history and said “by all accounts from the people that I’ve spoken to, whether it’s family or friends, he’s a stand-up young man.”
St. Julien was ordered held without bail during Thursday’s arraignment, though a bail review hearing is scheduled for next week.
– City News Service