Cayucos rape victim is somebody’s daughter

October 3, 2014
Stacey Warde

Stacey Warde

Editor’s Note: The following commentary about child sexual abuse in Cayucos was written after the arrest of volunteer fireman Oscar Higueros Jr., only a few days after Rogue Voice publisher Stacey Warde posted “Somebody’s Daughter,” a fictional account by author Larry Narron about an adult woman attempting to confront her father over her own sexual abuse as a child.


Yes, let’s talk about Somebody’s Daughter.

Larry Narron’s fictional account of a woman, abused as a child by her father, confronting the ailing, aged man in his later years, could have come right out of a bedroom scene here in Cayucos, as we learned last week when Oscar Higueros, Jr., a volunteer fireman, was arrested for the rape of a 17-year-old girl, and charged with 33 felonies, including forced sodomy and oral copulation, threatening a witness, and possession of cocaine.

A lot has been said about the merits of the case and about Higueros’ character but little about the alleged victim. What people seem to have forgotten is that the victim is somebody’s daughter, not unlike the one in Larry’s story. Little has been said about this child and how we might in the future protect her and other youth in our community from child sexual abuse.

These alleged crimes took place in a home not far from any of us. Why not give some due consideration to the real victim in this case, and to other potential victims who live in our community? Why do we so quickly dismiss the victims in our midst and go to the defense of an accused rapist just because he’s a fireman?

And, why in the digitally social world of data inundation do we resort to flaming, illogic and basic stupidity when commenting on these events? You would think from many responses defending Higueros in the week since his arrest that he’s the victim. “He’s a fireman. No fireman would put someone at risk like that,” I’ve heard. “We don’t need to know what he did,” I’ve also heard.

“I hate the fact that such personal information can be public knowledge,” wrote one commenter after I’d posted a news item about the case on my Facebook wall.

A lesson in Civics 101 ensued, in which we discussed the importance in a free society of knowing when someone is arrested and what for. Eventually, the commenter removed her comments, but the protest against media hype continues, even as details of the case come mostly from press releases distributed by the district attorney’s office.

I’ve also heard others warn: Don’t point your fingers until you know all the facts. I don’t know all the facts but I do know when to be cautious, when to pay attention, and when to withhold judgment. Also, there’s the implied “don’t judge unless you want the skeletons in your own closet to be exposed.” Well, now, there’s an idea.

Comments on news sites covering the case show even more ignorance, not only of what goes on under our noses, but of the process of jurisprudence and of how we stay informed and safe in a democratic society. Flamers attacked news site KSBY, for example, for “sensationalizing,” when the facts of the case itself, coming to us directly from the district attorney’s office, are sensational enough. It won’t matter what KSBY or any news outlet reports, flamers will still accuse them of doing it only “because they want publicity.”

Some news agencies do that but most reporters I’ve known over the years do it because they want the community to know the truth, even when it’s an unpleasant truth. Is Higueros guilty? Not until a jury decides.
Regarding the alleged victim, I’ve heard: “Well, she’s probably some tart from the Bay Area, who was looking for some thrills and asking for it.”

No, she’s somebody’s daughter. We’re not talking schoolboy prank here. A child was manipulated and violated, according to the DA. Regardless of whether she was an angel, it doesn’t matter. She’s still a child. Yet, there’s more wringing of hands for an alleged rapist, because he’s a “good guy,” or a hard worker, or a volunteer fireman.

So-called “nice” people do bad things, even firemen. And young girls do get into trouble and it’s our job to make sure they don’t; it’s our job to protect them from predators who want to use them for their own profit and pleasure.

The judge set bail at $1 million, then raised it to $1.2 million during Higueros’ arraignment after charges of human trafficking were made against a second perp in the case. That suggests more than a slight moral lapse or minor indiscretion from someone with high marks for serving the community as a paid volunteer fireman.

It’s quite possible, as often happens in these cases, that law enforcement has overzealously trumped up the charges, but I doubt it. It’s the judge’s job to determine the strength and validity of a case, and this judge concurs, at this point, that the accused, Higueros, is a threat to the community. He will likely stay in jail for a very long time, at least until the court sorts out the facts and details of the case to determine his guilt or innocence. Meanwhile, expect to learn more disturbing details about this case in the weeks and months ahead.

This teenage girl, somebody’s daughter, remember, is not unlike the one in Larry’s story, who will similarly grow up one day and be forced to confront the demons of her past. We would do better to imagine how we might help her and prevent another young girl or boy in our community from falling into the clutches of predators than to fret over whether the accused was a good guy or not.

Stacey Warde is a long time Cayucos resident and the publisher of The Rogue Voice which is now available online.



  1. pwscottiv says:

    The facts are that I know Oscar and I’ve seen him treat people more horribly than you can imagine. Oscar acts nice to people most of the time because he knows that’s the best way to get what he wants. However, as most sociopaths do, if he decides that being nice to you doesn’t align with what he wants, then behavior like violence, child molestation, and rape could be on the menu. The core problem being an inherent lack of empathy and human respect, which is a common trait of sociopaths.

    Extremely Charming (at first) – Sociopaths are great at charming people, because they know how to get what they want. Charming people know how to make people feel special, to ask people the right questions about themselves, and to generally be perceived as fun, likable, and interesting. Truly charming people possess the ability to charm almost anyone, from little kids to old ladies. If the person is incredibly charming at first glance, while his or her later behavior scares or confuses you, then you may have a sociopath on your hands.

    Manipulative – Sociopaths understand human weakness and exploit it maximally. Once determined, they can manipulate individuals to do just about anything. Sociopaths prey on weak people and often stay away from equally strong people; they look for people who are sad, insecure, or looking for a meaning in life because they know that these people are soft targets

    Violent Behavior – Sociopaths don’t feel true empathy and don’t feel guilt about attacking defenseless people.

    Huge Ego – Sociopaths often have delusions of grandeur and think they are the greatest people in the world. They will be completely unresponsive to criticism and have an extremely inflated sense of self. They will also have a huge sense of entitlement, thinking that they deserve to have amazing things to happen to them, even after little effort.

    I have personally seen Oscar exhibit ALL of these behaviors.

    As the author of the article articulates, it’s unbelievably sad how people care more about defending Oscar (a disgusting pile of human waste) than they care about the girl who was the victim, or if there’s other victims (which I would speculate is extremely likely).

    (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down
  2. cencali says:

    It’s amazing adults (probably male) would be so insensitive. Just like corrupt cops,firemen, judges, etc…. Can do awful things! When you think about 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused, maybe the comments you heard were from child molesters themselves. The people that make these laws and ” enforce” them are very lenient at times probably because they are guilty of committing these crimes! Thank you for an enlightened, caring perspective

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  3. OnTheOtherHand says:

    I realize that this case is a bit different but I am one of those who wants to be cautious about a rush to judgment.

    I remember a case about 30 years ago where a male teacher in this county was accused by 3 middle-school-aged girls of “inappropriate touching.” There were no other witnesses and he was suspended immediately. I knew the guy and his wife — although I was not a close friend. I had trouble believing the claims at the time not only because he did not fit my conception of a child molester but because it was not long after the McMartin Pre-school fiasco in S.Cal and another similar false accusation situation in Washington.

    For whatever reason, his accusers (~10–11 yrs old) had made up the story and recanted a few days later. By then he was out of a job and would have never been trusted for a teaching position in this county again. They moved out of state and he found a different occupation that was less risky to his reputation.

    I have no problem with giving the immediate benefit of the doubt to the alleged victims in such cases and going ahead with a thorough investigation. But I do have a problem with either the police and DA or the community at large assuming that such accusations are always and completely legit. The investigation should be done with that possibility in mind — although not assumed. The public can wait for the trial to get information beyond the name of the accused and the general nature of the crime being prosecuted. If the initial claim is later found to contain malicious falsehoods, it is a lot easier for the falsely accused to overcome than all the detailed falsehoods being bandied about in the press for weeks beforehand. If the claims prove to be true, there is still plenty of time to be outraged and to express that outrage.

    The DA should also not be making the case in the press before it goes to trial for another reason. Grandstanding on emotionally impactful cases is not professional unless your primary profession is political rather than an agent of justice.

    (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
    • pwscottiv says:

      This situation is a bit different. Although I obviously wasn’t specifically aware that Oscar was pimping and raping underage girls, I can tell you that based on my personal knowledge of who he is as a person, what he’s been accused of is EXACTLY what I would expect from him. Oscar is a textbook sociopath. Most human beings, who aren’t sociopaths, wouldn’t have the drive, much less the ability to pimp and rape an underage girl. However, for someone who’s a sociopath, that wouldn’t be a problem at all, because they don’t feel empathy for others. To Oscar, that girl was nothing more than a piece of meat that he thought he could do anything he wanted to… I’m sure he would have had absolutely NO problem murdering that girl if he knew she was going to go to the police. Luckily she was able to escape with her life…

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  4. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    Why should being a fireman make this guy immune to/above the law? A lot of abusive priests have been defrocked over similar allegations. They were considered “above the law” for a long time and look at the problems that has caused! This case is no different.

    Let’s just be glad this guy is a volunteer fireman, at least we taxpayers won’t be paying his pension!

    (16) 20 Total Votes - 18 up - 2 down
    • Ted Slanders says:

      Speaking of abusive Catholic Priests, a “plethora” of this ilk were HIDDEN by the Mother Church in one of the most ungodly pedophile coverups known when these acts were discovered so as not to bring down the integrity of the faith.

      The local Catholic hierarchy was also accused of not reporting these pedophile cases to the police departments. Can the Catholic church even come close to thinking they still have a moral authority after all of the news of their pedophile priests and their documented coverups? NOT!

      One of many reasons that True Christians know the Catholics are going to Hell is that they worship and venerate Mother Mary. They go directly against Jesus when He is very clear in Luke 4:8 when he says, “You shall do homage to the Lord your God; Him alone shall you adore.”

      (-6) 14 Total Votes - 4 up - 10 down
    • pwscottiv says:

      Actually we paid him $8,702.90 in 2012 for his “volunteer” position at the fire department. Which should lead us to ask the following questions:

      How was Oscar supporting himself on that little income?

      How long has he been pimping girls to support himself?

      What other criminal activities does he do to pay the bills?

      Has law enforcement investigated enough to reveal the answers to these questions?

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  5. willnose says:

    Thank you for providing moral clarity of who the victims are – someone’s daughter, sister, wife. Excellent reasoning, focus on what is relevant, pertinent to these cases.
    As for the obfuscation by the enablers who still absolve this fireman and his buddy from responsibility – simply repugnant! What those two did is a reprehensible crime, is so very wrong, so damaging, and lasts forever…!

    (20) 22 Total Votes - 21 up - 1 down

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