LANCASTER – A 38-year-old man will be sentenced next month for molesting and raping three Antelope Valley girls and for peddling drugs to local minors he met through Facebook, authorities said.
Robert Carl Ham faces a maximum of 127 years and eight months to life in state prison when he is sentenced Sept. 17, according to Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami.
“The defendant is clearly a sexual predator,” Hatami stated.
An Antelope Valley jury on Aug. 14 convicted Ham of nearly a dozen felony charges, including continuous lewd acts on a child under 14, forcible rape of child victim and furnishing marijuana to minors under 14 years of age, according to court records.
According to testimony during the trial, Ham befriended and moved in with a single mother and her three children in Lancaster in 2007. A few months later, he began molesting two of the children, an 11-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl. The sexual abuse continued for several years, even after Ham moved out of the woman’s home. In at least one instance, he took the younger of the two sisters to a Lancaster motel and raped her, the prosecutor said.
In 2012, Ham befriended and moved in with another single mother, this time in Palmdale. He repeatedly molested the woman’s 8-year-old daughter, according to court testimony.
Evidence also came out during trial through live testimony, text messages and photographs that Ham had victimized three additional underage females. Detectives were not able to locate the girls, who were about 14 years old when the abuse occurred, the prosecutor said. All are from the Antelope Valley, however, one may have moved to Oregon.
Ham contacted numerous underage females through the Internet and through text messaging, leading authorities to believe there may be many more possible victims.
According to evidence presented during trial, Ham used Facebook and text messaging to contact the underage girls and send them pornography and inappropriate text messages. He also used Facebook to sell marijuana to several underage people in the Antelope Valley.
Ham’s crimes were exposed in late 2013 when one of the victims told a Lancaster therapist she had been molested by Ham. The mandated reporter contacted law enforcement and Ham was ultimately arrested in April of 2014.
Nine witnesses testified during the sexual abuse trial, including the three identified victims. A character witness for the defendant was Rev. Kenneth Santarelli of Kingsway Ministries, who described Ham as an “ordained Aaronic priest,” according to the prosecutor.
The jury deliberated for about two days before finding Ham guilty on all charges – six counts of lewd act upon a child and one count each of continuous sexual abuse, forcible lewd act upon a child, forcible rape of child victim under 14 years and furnishing marijuana to minors under 14. Jurors also found true the special allegations of multiple victims.
“The jurors had many counts to address; they worked hard, worked together, and came to a just verdict,” Hatami said.
Ham’s three identified victims will give impact statements at his sentencing hearing on Sept. 17, the prosecutor said.
“The victims endured years of abuse. They were extremely brave to come to court, face the predator and testify,” Hatami said. “They finally received justice.”
Editor’s note: Story revised to include the correct age for Robert Carl Ham and to clarify the charges.
UPDATED 9-28-15: Ham’s sentencing hearing was postponed to Sept. 28. He was sentenced to 110 years and eight months in state prison. Read our followup story here.