LOS ANGELES – A 25-year-old man was honored for saving a 3-year-old Palmdale boy who was being sexually abused by his own mother.
Joshua Anderson was recognized on Oct. 5 with a Courageous Citizen Award by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
According to the news release by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:
Joshua Anderson was visiting a co-worker’s home in Palmdale on Feb. 7, 2016, when he borrowed the man’s mobile phone and discovered videos containing child pornography on it. Upon seeing the disturbing images, Mr. Anderson left the home and took the phone with him. The phone’s owner confronted Mr. Anderson and threatened to beat him. Yet, Mr. Anderson refused to return the phone and brought it to authorities. Soon after, police arrested the man and located the woman he had instructed to send him the pornographic videos of her 3-year-old son.”
The man, 25-year-old Alonzo Lee Vital, was found guilty of five counts each of oral copulation or sexual penetration with child 10 years or younger and lewd act upon a child, and one count each of possession of child pornography and conspiracy to commit the crime of using a minor for sex acts, according to the District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to 92 years in state prison.
The woman, 22-year-old Zaria Vaughan, pleaded no contest to two counts of forcible oral copulation of a child under 14. She was sentenced to 24 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Joshua Anderson and four others were honored at a Courageous Citizen Awards ceremony on Oct. 5 hosted by the Rotary Club of Los Angeles. Anderson, who now lives in Las Vegas, sent his grandfather, Stacy Walker, to accept the award on his behalf.
The four other honorees included three women who saw a hungry, dirty toddler near a freeway in Echo Park and intervened, and a Bellflower mother who distracted a man who said he had a gun until authorities arrived.
“They are role models and their actions are a reminder that we all must do more to safeguard our youngest victims from the abuse and neglect they may suffer – sometimes at the hands of the very people who are supposed to protect them,” District Attorney Lacey said.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office presents Courageous Citizen awards several times a year to people who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or even capturing suspects.