Update: Berlinghoff Facing 75 Additional Counts

Charles Berlinghoff

The next chapter of the saga of a Redding teenager who was missing for 31 days with her 44-year-old uncle continues in Shasta County Superior Court on Dec. 29. Charles Berlinghoff now faces 96 counts of felonies and misdemeanors, including incest, lewd acts with a minor, oral copulation, child stealing, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing lewd material to a minor and arranging a meeting with a minor for a lewd purpose.

The list of charges against Charles Berlinghoff expanded by 75 counts this week, the Shasta County Court’s Criminal Division office confirmed today.

The new charges were brought forth by the District Attorney’s Office during an in-custody hearing on Tuesday afternoon. The new counts were for lewd acts with a minor, incest and oral copulation.

New court records released Tuesday reveal that Berlinghoff and the teen told sheriff’s detectives they had engaged in a sexual relationship from October to December.

According to the records, the teen told detectives that Berlinghoff “didn’t rape me.” She also said, “I love him, more than an uncle,” according to the records.

Berlinghoff is expected to enter a plea at the Dec. 29 arraignment hearing. After Tuesday’s hearing he had not yet retained an attorney, but indicated that he wished to.

In the initial round of investigative reports, text messages and witness statements detailed evidence supporting the allegations against the Los Angeles man.

Berlinghoff had been staying at his brother Jacob Berlinghoff’s Redding residence when he disappeared with his 15-year-old niece on Nov. 10. The uncle and niece were the subject of a wide-ranging search that involved law enforcement agencies from throughout California and attracted national media coverage.

They were spotted in San Francisco’s Mission District on Dec. 11 by the teen’s cousin Jennifer Berlinghoff, who notified police. Charles Berlinghoff was later arrested and the teen was taken into protective custody.

While missing, the teen’s name was used in posts on A News Café and widely publicized by a variety of media outlets. Her name is now being withheld because of the sexual nature of the charges pending against Charles Berlinghoff. A News Café does not name victims of alleged sex crimes.

Charles Berlinghoff was arraigned in Shasta County Superior Court on Friday but did not enter a plea. As of Monday afternoon, he had not retained a lawyer for his defense, though he stated that was his intent during his initial arraignment hearing, a court clerk said. Wednesday’s appearance is a continuation of the arraignment.

Shasta County Sheriff’s Department investigative reports, released as court record last week, build the case that the relationship between Charles Berlinghoff and the teen was inappropriate, considering her minor status.

The girl’s father told investigators that he grounded his daughter after an evening when she and her uncle stayed out until the early morning. Jacob Berlinghoff told investigators that he took the teen’s cell phone and discovered text messages that he deemed inappropriate.

Text messages from Charles Berlinghoff’s phone to the teen included: “I’m going to miss you so bad, it’s hard to leave I don’t ever want to” on Nov. 9, and “Good morning baby I love you I cant wait to hold you again XOXO” on Nov. 10.

There was also an outgoing text message from the alleged victim’s cell phone that read: “I know baby” on Nov. 9, the report shows.

After discovering the text messages, Jacob Berlinghoff told investigators he confronted his brother, which led to a near fight. Jacob Berlinghoff left the room to let the situation cool down and later fell asleep, he told investigators.

Other details from the investigative report include a statement by a friend of the teen who said she saw digital photographs and text messages that indicated that the teen and Charles Berlinghoff were having a sexual relationship. Charles Berlinghoff also told his San Bernardino roommate Nate Tabor that he had a “hot” 18-year-old girlfriend in Redding and, if given the chance, would like to have sex with her, the report states.

After disappearing on Nov. 10, sheriff’s officials say the two drove to the Sims Road area south of Dunsmuir and stayed in the woods for several days before jumping on a slow moving boxcar and riding a train north to Oregon. Eventually they reached Portland, where they lived for three weeks, staying in a homeless shelter and working in a soup kitchen, the report shows.

They befriended a man who, unaware they were the subjects of an extensive search, gave them a ride to San Francisco, where they were spotted by the teen’s cousin, who resides in the city.

Earlier this month, Jacob Berlinghoff told A News Café that he’s aware that people following the case may find it suspicious that a family member would randomly spot the pair in the large city, thus accomplishing what a wide net of law enforcement and other agencies could not in a month’s time. Jacob Berlinghoff denied accusations by people commenting on online forums that he himself was somehow involved in the case to seek publicity or for any other reason beyond wanting to find his daughter.

“I think any parent who had a missing kid would do whatever that could to find her,” Jacob Berlinghoff told A News Café on Dec. 13.

A $10,000 reward by Secret Witness of Shasta County was being offered in the case for discovery of Charles Berlinghoff and the teen while she was missing. The non-profit organization did receive tips about the case. However, no reward money has been paid at this point, said Sharon Lassiter, president of the volunteer board.

The investigating agency (in this case the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office) receives the tip information and also makes the decision pertaining to any reward money being distributed.

Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight’s D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

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is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com
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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Loves to Eat says:

    Just when you think this case can't get any worse, it does. This is a very sad time for the Berlinghoff family and my heart goes out to them. May your family once again find harmony and peace.

  2. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    Meanwhile the niece thinks society is keeping her from the man she loves. Hopefully in a few years she will realize how the perv manipulated her and robbed her innocence.

  3. Avatar I call B.S. says:

    While missing, the teen’s name was used in posts on A News Café and widely publicized by a variety of media outlets. Her name is now being withheld because of the sexual nature of the charges pending against Charles Berlinghoff. A News Café does not name victims of alleged sex crimes.

    Well yes you do, not only that several pictures of her as well.

    Does this mean you will take down all past articles and pictures of her ?

    Should the Record Searchlight and a newscafe continue to post such sexual and intimate details of this case ?

    Perhaps fodder for Phil's next cartoon ?

    How about giving the Berlinghoff family a break for Christmas local media.

  4. Probably one reason why we understand your viewpoint so well is that we wrestled greatly with some of the same questions you pose.

    It was only after lot of of discussion that we decided to keep the teen's name and photos in the previous stories. Our reasoning was that her identity has already been widely published, and considering the incredible amount of media coverage of the teen when she was missing, retroactively deleting the teen's name and photos from past stories was like trying to unring a bell.

    However, going forward we will cover the primary aspects related to the suspect's charges, but will do so without stating the teen's name.

  5. Avatar just1girl says:

    I just read the RecordSearchlight online & see that the minor Berlighoff's DAD has been arrested on sexually related charges. I am devastated by that news & wonder if anyone here at anewscafe can clarify or update. I am speculating, YES, speculating, that the girl has now falsely accused her dad in retribution. Again, just speculation on my part. But I am willing to be corrected with clarifying information. Thanks.

    • Avatar Buzzsaw says:

      This may be the end of "The Great Movie career"

      Ask how he suports 4 yes Four exwives, and four children without a steady income.

  6. Avatar whatsnext says:

    This story just keeps getting deeper and deeper. Wonder where it will end?

  7. Avatar Bystander says:

    The charges specify with a victim under fourteen so I don't think that is the case.

    The uncle was also charged with incest, where dad hasn't.

    I think it is another person.

    Public attention is a double edge sword.

    Maybe it came up while the police were looking for his daughter.

    Maybe someone came forward and said hey her father is a creep too are you sure she ran off? Or maybe they got sick of seeing him in the press everyday being sainted as the world's greatest father.

    Or they say the divorce issue was going on the night his brother and daughter split, so who knows what led that to that.

    This much publicity, someone the public has supported, 50k bail, in county for xmas weekend instead of at home with his victimized daughter…. seems like they are pretty sure about the charges.

    At least he won't be without family for the holidays.

    Him and his brother can get reaquainted.

    Compare war stories.

    Plan their defense.

    Good times.

  8. Avatar GaryGnu says:

    It possibly could be with his daughter, the charges are from 2008 and his daughter is 15 in 2010, but without further information it could be anyone!

  9. Avatar GaryGnu says:

    Maybe they can be cellies?