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Anti-gay marriage advocate arraigned, accused of child molestation

A donor to the anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign and youth leader in his evangelical church has been arraigned on charges that he molested boys over many years.

Caleb Douglas Hesse, 52, of Yucca Valley, Calif., was arraigned earlier this month on four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child. Additional charges were to come, according to a release from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office.

Hesse, if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of 45 years to life in prison.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said Hesse was a first-grade teacher at the Friendly Hills Elementary School in the Morongo Unified School District from 1987 until recently.

He also is a youth volunteer with the Evangelical Free Church in Yucca Valley, according to the sheriff. Through his work at the church, Hesse allegedly was involved in “countless overnight outings that took place throughout California.”

Hesse’s alleged victims were on those outings, according to investigators.

“The crimes are believed to have occurred between the early 1980s and as recently as one week ago,” the sheriff’s news release dated Aug. 18 said. “Some of the victims may now be 30 (to) 40 years old.”

A database of donors to Proposition 8, the 2010 ballot campaign to amend California’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage, shows Hesse as a contributor of $100.

Authorities were asking people with information, including other possible victims, to contact the sheriff’s department at 909-387-3615.

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