The cartoonist who created the Hustler magazine feature “Chester the Molester” was convicted last week of five counts of child molesting by a Ventura Superior Court jury that deliberated for five days.
The jury of seven men and five women acquitted the cartoonist of six other charges, including incest and oral copulation, and deadlocked on another five counts of similar crimes.
The cartoonist, Dwaine Tinsley, is scheduled to be sentenced March 1 by Judge Lawrence Storch. He faces up to 16 years in state prison and a $50,000 fine, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Matthew J. Hardy.
Hardy hailed the verdict as vindication for the victim, now a 19-year-old waitress in Los Angeles, who he said had endured adults’ disbelief almost all her life.
“The most important thing here is that the jurors did believe her,” Hardy said. Tinsley, who was arrested May 18 at his home in Simi Valley, was accused of sexually abusing the woman between 1984 and 1988, when she was between 13 and 17.
Tinsley’s “Chester the Molester” cartoons for several years dealt satirically with child molestation, but pedophilia was eliminated from them several years ago, Hardy said.
“You can’t write this stuff all the time if you don’t experience it,” Tinsley reportedly told co-workers, according to evidence presented during seven days of testimony.
After his arrest and the ensuing publicity, Tinsley, 44, moved to Los Angeles, said his attorney, George C. Eskin. He will remain free in lieu of $50,000 bail until his sentencing, Eskin and Hardy said.
Eskin said Tinsley is innocent and will appeal.
He characterized Tinsley’s accuser as a recovering cocaine addict with a history of “emotional and sexual excesses.” The woman made her accusations, he said, in retaliation for Tinsley’s attempts to free her of drugs.