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Update

Auburn man in jail for alleged lewd acts with a minor

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn man is in jail for allegedly committing lewd acts with a 14-year-old child. On Monday Auburn police arrested Matthew Joseph Barraza, 31, an Auburn-area martial arts instructor, after an investigation revealed he allegedly committed these acts with one of his students, according to Detective Scott Alford. According to Barraza’s website he is “professional athlete” and competes in mixed martial arts, Alford said. According to Alford, the website also states Barraza is an “ordained minister, author, speaker and master herbalist.” Alford said Thursday morning that it was not the victim who contacted the police. “Somebody other than the victim actually reported a suspicion that something might have occurred,” Alford said. Alford couldn’t comment on exactly how long the activity was allegedly taking place. “It hasn’t been a long time,” he said. “It looks like we intervened early, so that is a good thing. He has been in the Auburn area as far as we know for about a year-and-a-half. The exact time he was employed we don’t have specific dates yet, but I would say less than a year.” Alford couldn’t comment on exactly where the martial arts studio was located, and said the department is still trying to find out how many minors Barraza would have come in contact with through his work. Alford couldn’t comment on whether or not Barraza has a criminal background, but said Barraza doesn’t have any background of charges like these. Alford said the department doesn’t have information about Barraza’s past employment history in the local area, but that because Barraza is a professional mixed martial arts fighter he has probably worked at other centers. Alford couldn’t comment on whether or not the alleged victim is an Auburn resident. Barraza was booked on charges of a lewd or lascivious act with a child and contact with a minor with the intent to commit an offense, both felonies, according to Placer County Jail records. He was being held on a $100,000 bail. As of Thursday afternoon Barraza was out of custody on bail. Barraza’s next court date is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Auburn’s Placer County Jail courtroom, according to jail records. Alford said the department is trying to find out if there are other alleged victims in the case. Anyone with information about Barraza is encouraged to call Detective Dustin McLaughlin at (530) 823-4237, ext. 221. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com