A registered sex offender was sentenced today to six years in state prison for molesting a 5-year-old boy in a public restroom.
Nicholas James Needham, 28, of Laguna Beach, pleaded guilty Oct. 14, 2011, to one felony count of lewd acts on a child under 14. The defendant was sentenced in absentia, as he is currently in federal custody. Last month, Needham was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for a child pornography case. His 6-year sentence for child molestation will be served concurrent to the federal sentence.
At approximately 12:45 p.m. on June 15, 2010, Needham entered a men’s restroom at the Outlets at Orange (formerly known as the Block at Orange). A 5-year-old boy was using the urinal while his mother waited outside. Needham
stood next to the victim, reached over, and touched the victim’s penis. The defendant then left the scene.
The boy disclosed the sexual assault to his mother, who contacted the police. In a subsequent search of the defendant’s home, officers discovered thousands of images and three videos of graphic, amateur child pornography featuring young boys from infancy to early teens.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Needham for the molestation and possession of child pornography. The U.S. Attorney’s Office later assumed the child pornography case, as the defendant’s maximum sentence if convicted would be greater than if prosecuted at the state level.
Needham’s lifetime sex offender registration bars him from entering County recreational areas and City parks that have passed the Sex Offender Ordinance.