Counts allege ongoing molestation, more than one victim

A Taft man has been arrested on multiple counts of child molestation, capping a three-month investigation.

Michael Edward Hale, 46, was arrested by Taft Police on Wednesday and charged with one count of lewd and lascivious act with a child, one count of continuous sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of oral copulation and two counts of penetration with a foreign object.

Police are releasing few details about the case or the victims.

Taft Police Lt. Ed Whiting said only that the charges involve several victims and had been occurring for a period of time.

“They are female and all were under the age of 15 at the time of molestation,” Whiting said. “This has been an ongoing problem.”

The case report began on Jan. 26.

Whiting said officers served a search warrant at Hale’s home at 207 North St.

During the execution of the warrant, Whiting said, Hale drove by, but fled when he saw the officers, Whiting said.

Officers went after him and made a traffic stop at Second and Main Street and took Hale into custody.

He is being held on $335,000 bail.