A 60-year-old Capitola man faces life in prison after being convicted Thursday in a Santa Cruz courtroom of molesting six boys over 20 years, Santa Cruz County prosecutors said. After a month-long jury trial, a jury convicted Steven Weissman of 15 counts of child molestation including aggravated sexual assault on a child, oral copulation of a child under 10 and lewd acts on a child under 14. Weissman is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4. Assistant District Attorney Steven Moore said the most disturbing part of the case is the way Weissman sought out his victims.
He was a foster parent for 16 years and he did volunteer work around children. Weissman was a volunteer yard duty supervisor at multiple elementary schools and he was a big brother in the Big Brother/Big Sister program. “He was involved with so many children over this period,” Moore said. Weissman also owned a snake business that would attract boys who were interested in snakes, Moore said. Boys would come over to Weissman’s house to see the snakes and he was able to identify the vulnerable boys that way, according to Moore. Prosecutors said Weissman cultivated a “father figure” relationship with the 8- to 12-year-old boys. As Weissman developed the relationships, he would encourage the boys to spend more time with him at his home.
He encouraged the boys to spend the night when he would molest them in their sleep. Weissman also installed hidden cameras to watch the boys shower. The first victim, an 8-year-old, was molested in 1997. Weissman had the boy orally copulate him, according to prosecutors. The last victim woke up to Weissman masturbating next to him. Prosecutors said Weissman used fear and intimidation to keep the boys from telling parents or authorities. But a 13-year-old notified authorities in 2013 because the boy worried if he did not say something other children would be victims. Other children came forward after a public disclosure of that case, according to prosecutors.