The Orange County district attorney’s office asked for an investigation Wednesday into whether a convicted child molester violated probation by hiring minors to sell candy bars.
John Pizzini, 30, of Costa Mesa, who pleaded guilty to four counts of child molestation earlier this year, was released from jail in October after serving a three-month sentence. He was placed on three years’ probation, which required him to register with police as a sex offender and stay away from minors.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Jane Shade said she had been informed that Pizzini was hiring children ages 10 and older to go door to door and sell candy for Pizzini’s Youth Enterprise Program.
Although a former business operated by Pizzini had a different name, it is the same type of operation that got him into trouble before, Shade said.
“I’ve called his probation officer and we’re are going to investigate the matter,” Shade said, adding that she has received calls from parents who expressed concern about Pizzini’s activities.
Pizzini could not be reached for comment.
Officials with the county probation office, as a matter of policy, declined to discuss Pizzini’s case.
Pizzini was arrested in July by Costa Mesa police and charged with four misdemeanor counts of lewd acts with a child. The victim was a 14-year-old girl.
Pizzini, dubbed “the Candy Man” by local law enforcement officials, reportedly wanted to marry the girl but was stopped by authorities, who ordered that she be sent to a shelter for abused and neglected children. The victim was then released into the care of her father, Shade said.