A jury found a San Jose after-school teacher guilty of molesting nine young girls Tuesday afternoon, a conviction that could send him to prison for life.
Keith Woodhouse, 27, was convicted on 30 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14. The girls he had touched inappropriately were enrolled in day-care programs run by Child Development Centers at Trace and El Rancho elementary schools.
The girls testified against him at the trial, which lasted about five weeks at Santa Clara County Superior Court.
"They were very courageous in testifying in court several times," said Luis Ramos, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case. "These girls really trusted in this man and he took advantage of that trust."
Woodhouse's attorney at the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Ramos gave much of the credit for convicting Woodhouse to San Jose police Det. Erik Martin and the department's Child Exploitation Detail.
"It was by far the biggest case of my career," Martin said, "but the greatest credit should go to the girls who went through the stress of telling this to strangers in the courtroom. It had to be tough on them."
Even before the trial started in August, the families of the nine girls began filing civil lawsuits against the day-care provider and a church that employed him earlier. According to attorney Bob Allard, who represents seven of the families, the Child Development Centers had failed to check Woodhouse's background adequately and supervise him properly.
Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767 and follow him at Twitter.com/JoeRodMercury.