La Cañada man, a former sheriff’s psychologist, sentenced to life for sex crimes against children

Michael Dane Ward, a 46-year-old La Cañada man charged in 2016 with 10 felony counts related to the molestation of two young children, was sentenced Tuesday to life in state prison, according to a statement released by the district attorney’s office.

In August of 2017, jurors found the former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department psychologist guilty of four counts of lewd acts on a child, two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child under 14, three counts of oral copulation of a child 10 years or younger and one count of sodomy with a child under 10, according to the statement.

The victims, a boy and a girl described as family members, were both under the age of 10 at the time the assaults occurred, between October 2013 and November 2015.

Both victims testified against Ward at a trial prosecuted by Deputy District Atty. Guillermo Santiso of the district attorney’s Sex Crimes Division. On Monday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench sentenced Ward to 98 years to life in prison.

Ward, whose work with the Sheriff’s Department had involved advising and training law enforcement officers, was relieved of his duty when he was arrested by the department’s Special Victims Bureau, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Twitter: @SaraCardine