St. Johns County

St. Johns County daycare employee found guilty on 16 of 22 felony counts for molesting children

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A two-day trial concluded with 20-year-old Anthony Guadalupe walking away in handcuffs.


He was facing 22 felony counts for inappropriately touching children at Chappell Schools’ Longleaf campus two years ago.

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After about four hours, the jurors found Guadalupe guilty of 12 counts of molesting children under the age of 12, one count of attempting to molest children, and three counts of committing unnatural acts.

The prosecutors said they were proud of the work the jury put in.

“I have to commend them for the work they did,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said. “And, you know, without any of the kids testifying, the video spoke for itself. And I think the jurors, they fulfilled their duty today.”

The jury did come back with not-guilty verdicts on six counts of child sex crimes, but Guadalupe’s defense attorney Terry Shoemaker said he is still disappointed.

RELATED: Jury selection begins for former St. Johns daycare employee accused of molesting children

“I’m disappointed. I – Anthony’s family put their trust in me, and I feel like I didn’t come through for him,” Shoemaker said. “It was a tough case, but I thought we had some good defenses.”

Shoemaker said the verdict could mean life in prison for Guadalupe.

“One of these guilty charges equals life in prison, potentially,” Shoemaker said. “So it doesn’t matter if I had 21 not guilty, as one could end up in life in prison.”

Guadalupe was arrested in 2022 after a father noticed his daughter pulling up her underwear in the classroom.

In court on Wednesday, the prosecutors showed some of the surveillance video showing Guadalupe appearing to inappropriately touch himself and the victim.

RELATED: Former St. Johns day care employee pleads guilty to 12 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation

The videos from May to July of 2022 show different kids appearing to sit on his lap while he was moving his legs.

“It’s hard to tell from the distance the camera was,” Shoemaker said. “And, you know, it’s a two-dimensional thing, it’s hard to figure out exactly what was going on.

“If you have kids, I’m a parent, I’m a grandparent -- your worst nightmare is for your children or your grandchildren or any child for that matter, to be abused sexually or physically or both,” State Attorney Larizza said.

The Chappell Schools CEO Suzanne Beevers, sent a statement saying, “Chappell Schools respects the jury’s verdict and hopes it will bring some closure to all involved.”

RELATED: Former day care employee accused of inappropriately touching girl at school facing more charges

Guadalupe could face a minimum of 103 years in prison.

A tentative date for the sentencing trial has been set for July 30th, but that date is still not official.

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