Transient accused of child molestation



Police say a man tasked with supervising a friend’s children has been arrested and charged with multiple lewd acts against a minor.

Theodore Eli Epp, 26, who is known by Grover Beach police officers to be a local transient, was arrested in Arroyo Grande on May 22 on suspicion of molesting three children; ages 9, 7, and 2 years old.

Epp pleaded not guilty at his June 1 arraignment in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, as well as two counts of oral copulation and sexual penetration, also felonies. However, Superior Court Judge John Trice denied several enhancements sought by the District Attorney’s Office that would have increased the severity of any potential sentence should Epp be convicted, according to court records.

As of press time, he continues to be held without bail at the county jail.

According to a police affidavit, Epp was entrusted by a friend to babysit for that friend’s three children. New Times is withholding the names of the alleged victims.

The eldest child later described in explicit detail to Arroyo Grande Detective Erik Jensen that Epp had forced the younger siblings to perform sexual acts. The 9-year-old also told investigators that Epp solicited the same from him, which he allegedly refused.

Officers, who had been alerted to the accusations against Epp, found him on East Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande in the early morning hours of May 22. According to a press release, officers arrested him after they allegedly found him in possession of drug paraphernalia, which is a violation of his parole, police say.

His San Luis Obispo-based public defender, Michael Cummins, did not return a request for comment as of
press time.

Investigators are asking anyone with additional information to contact the Arroyo Grande Police Department’s investigations section.

Epp is due back in court July 11.

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