DESERT HOT SPRINGS – A man and woman accused of child molestation, along with making and distributing child pornography, are in custody facing felony charges, Desert Hot Springs police revealed Thursday, Aug. 31.
Michael Flaherty, 31, of Desert Hot Springs and Cynthia Fuentes, 21, of Coachella, were allegedly involved in the molestation of at least one child and the creation of at least one video related to child sexual abuse, according to Detective Christopher Tooth.
Following a joint probe with Homeland Security Investigations, Desert Hot Springs police arrested Flaherty Aug. 16 in Palm Springs. He was subsequently charged – and pleaded not guilty – to several felonies, including lewd acts on a child, using a minor for obscene matter and possession of child pornography.
He’s being held in lieu of $1.5 million bail and is due back in court on Sept. 21 for a felony settlement conference.
Further investigation into the alleged sexual abuse led police to arrest Fuentes Wednesday in Coachella. She was booked on suspicion of using a minor for obscene matter, possession of child pornography, lewd acts with a child and child endangerment, with bail set at $2.5 million. She’s expected to make her initial court appearance Friday, Sept. 1.
Police asked anyone with additional information regarding the case to contact Tooth at (760) 329-2904, ext. 352.