LAS VEGAS, NEVADA >> A former San Gabriel Mission High School athletic director received a sentence of at least two years in prison this week for absconding to Nevada with a 15-year-old then-student, officials said.
Juan Barajas, 37, received a sentence of 24 month to 72 months in state prison during his sentencing hearing on Tuesday in the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, according to Clark County Deputy District Attorney Alexander Chen. Barajas must serve a minimum of 24 months behind bars before becoming eligible for parole, he explained. The maximum amount of time he will spend behind bars in Nevada is six years.
Additionally, Barajas will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Chen said.
Police found Barajas with the teenage Pico Rivera girl and arrested him on Aug. 2 in Henderson, Nevada, officials said.
The man and girl had been missing since July 29, when they fled after the girl’s family learned of their inappropriate and illegal relationship. The girl had been a student at the school, a private Catholic high school operated by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
A Henderson police officer spotted Barajas and the girl hours after Los Angeles Police, who handled the investigation, asked the public for help in finding the missing teen and suspect.
He pleaded guilty in November to a single count of statutory sexual seduction,
Following his arrest, prosecutors initially charged Barajas with first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault of a minor under 16, lewdness with a minor under 16, statutory sexual seduction and committing a sex act in public, authorities said. If convicted as charged, could have faced between 20 and 50 years in state prison.
PHOTO of Juan Barajas (courtesy)
A judge sentenced a Pico Rivera man to nearly 40 years in state prison for extorting 21 underage girls in eight states into sending him nude pictures online, authorities said.
Cesar Mauricio Estrada-Davila, also known as Cesar Estrada, 20, pleaded “no contest” on Wednesday to 38 felony charges, including 21 counts of distributing or showing child pornography to a minor, 16 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of committing a lewd act on a child, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in a written statement.
At his sentencing on Friday in the Antelope Valley branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Estrada received a prison term of 39 years and 8 months. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
“According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, Estrada reached out to young girls and befriended them on social media websites between January and April, 2015,” Santiago said. “The defendant told the victims he was a modeling agent who could make them famous online.
“Estrada then asked the victims to send him pictures of themselves in their underwear,” according to Santiago. “Once the defendant received the images, he would tell the girls he was going to send the photos to their friends and family if they did not send nude photos.”
Prosecutors filed charges in connection with 21 victims between the ages of 12 and 17 in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Michigan, Washington, Colorado and Florida.
The investigation began after a 14-year-old Antelope Valley girl who reported the online extortion to her father, who in turn contacted police, sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Meyer said shortly after Estrada’a arrest.
Detectives searched Estrada’s home in the 8300 block of Rosemead Boulevard in Pico Rivera, where they found more than 26,000 pages of online and text conversations between Estrada and his victims, Meyer added. All of the victims were Latina girls, and many told investigators they had been living in fear of Estrada.
Estrada was initially charged with more than 150 crimes and could have received multiple life sentences if convicted at trial, prosecutors said.
The case was investigated by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.
PHOTO of Cesar Mauricio Estrada-Davila courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A judge sentences a 34-year-old Santa Fe Springs man to 10 years in prison Wednesday for sexually molesting a 5-year-old girl at his mother’s home-based child care business more than a decade ago, authorities said.
Robert Andres Martinez pleaded “no contest” in May to two felony charges: committing forcible lewd acts on a child and committing lewd acts on a child, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Prosecutors charged Martinez with child sex crimes in January following an investigation by the Whittier Police Department.
In addition to his prison term, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Porras also ordered Martinez to register as a sex offender for life during the sentencing in the Norwalk courthouse, Ardalani said.
Martinez’s mother ran a child care center out of her Santa Fe Springs at the time of the molestations in 2005, officials said.
“In the afternoons, the children would have naptime in the living room,” Ardalani said. “It was during naptime that Martinez lured one of the children, a 5-year-old girl, into his bedroom and sexually abused her.”
The victim did not report the abuse at the time, officials said.
“The victim, who is now in high school, recently revealed to her mother about the molestation, which prompted the parent to call authorities and report the sexual abuse,” Ardalani said.
LA MIRADA >> Sheriff’s deputies arrested three men who they say showed up at a La Mirada hotel to pay for sex with minors during an online sting operation last week, officials announced Thursday.
Matthew Brown, 32, of Long Beach, Jamie Rodriguez, 37, of Norwalk, and Jorge Garcia, 40, whose city of residence was not clear Thursday, were arrested for and subsequently charged with arranging and meeting with a minor for lewd behavior, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
“After ads were placed on websites, which commonly contain ads for sex workers, undercover deputies communicated via text and phone with potential buyers who attempted to purchase sex for money, making it clear that they were under 18,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “ After agreeing on a lewd act in exchange for money, the suspects responded to a meeting location.”
The men were arrested after arriving at a La Mirada hotel to meet who they believed to be were minors to exchange money for sex, Sgt. Jeff Walker of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force said.
According to booking records, Garcia remained in custody Thursday in lieu of $75,000 bail. Brown and Rodriguez had been released from jail pending their initial court appearances after posting $75,000 bail each.
NORWALK >> Detectives are seeking possible additional victims of a 54-year-old sex offender caught trying to lure a 10-year-old girl into his car at a Norwalk park over the weekend, officials said.
Armando Hernandez of Norwalk had children’s pamphlets from a church, as well as an extra license plate, inside his car at the time of his arrest about 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Norwalk Park, 13000 Clarkdale Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Henry Jaquez said in a written statement.
He tried to abduct the girl shortly after 6:40 p.m., authorities said.
“(Hernandez) attempted to pull the victim, a 10-year-old girl, into a 2000 tan Toyota Corolla, licence plate 7PMD192,” Jaquez said.
The girl’s parents saw what was happening and yelled at the would-be kidnapper, who released the girl, Lt. Robin Limon said.
Responding deputies soon found the suspect, later identified as Hernandez.
Along with two hats and a red flannel shirt, deputies pamphlets for a children’s ministry at Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount, as well as a second license plate with a number of 4YRT979 in the trunk, according to a flyer issued by the sheriff’s department.
His car was further described as having a black hood and front fenders and dented rear quarter panels on both sides.
According to California’s online database of registered sex offenders, Hernandez has a previous conviction for annoying or molesting a minor.
He was being held without bail pending a scheduled appearance Friday in Norwalk Superior Court, Los Angeles County booking records show.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jaquez at 562-466-5434. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
COVINA >> Police jailed an out-of-compliance sex offender after he tried to lure a 4-year-old girl into the men’s bathroom at a Covina park Friday, authorities said.
Matthew James Smith, a 49-year-old transient, was booked on suspicion of child annoyance and failing to register as a sex offender following his arrest shortly after 11 a.m. at Covina City Park, 301 N. Fourth Ave., Covina police Sgt. gregg Peterson said in a written statement.
Police responded to the park after receiving a report, “that an adult male had attempted to lure a 4-year-old female
into the men’s public restroom at the park,” Peterson said.
The child’s mother prevented her daughter from going with the man, he said. She did not confront him directly, but kept an eye on him as she called police and explained what had happened.
Officers found Smith still in the park and detained him.
“Initially the suspect denied having any contact with the victim, however, he was positively identified and placed under citizen’s arrest for child annoyance,” the sergeant said.
Police soon also discovered that Smith was a registered sex offender who had failed to register, he said.
Further details regarding Smith’s prior criminal history were not available late Friday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Covina police detectives at 626-384-5628. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
POMONA >> A convicted sex offender awaiting trial for the 1981 slaying of a 6-year-old boy pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a second murder charge stemming from the 1986 slaying of a second young boy, authorities said.
Kenneth Kasten Rasmuson, 53, who was living in Idaho when arrested by cold case investigators in March after DNA evidence linked him to the killing of 6-year-old Jeffrey Vargo of Anaheim. Vargo’s body was discovered in Pomona the day after he disappeared while riding his bicycle in Anaheim on July 2, 1981.
After more than 30 years, Rasmuson was linked to the crime by DNA evidence and arrested, Pomona police Lt. Eddie Vasquez said at the time.
As the legal process moved forward in the murder case, DNA evidence linked Rasmuson to another slaying, that of 6-year-old Miguel Antero of Agoura Hills, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials said.
Prosecutors amended the felony complaint already filed against Rasmuson for Vargo’s killing to include Antero’s slaying as well, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
His body was found in a wash on April 8, 1986, the same day he went missing from outside his home, prosectors allege.
He pleaded not guilty to the new charges Wednesday in Pomona Superior Court, officials said. He was ordered back to court for another hearing in the case on Jan. 14.
Rasmuson now stands charged with two counts of murder, along the special circumstances that both killings were committed during the commission of lewd or lascivious acts on children, as well as the special circumstance of multiple murders.
Prosecutors are yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty in the case, or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Rasmuson was previously convicted of sex crimes against children in California in the 1980s.
PHOTO: Kenneth Rasmuson, 53. (courtesy)
A Hacienda Heights high school chemistry teacher admitted molesting two of his students during a court hearing Wednesday, authorities said.
David Park of Chino Hills pleaded guilty in Pomona Superior Court to charges of committing lewd acts on a child and oral copulation of a person under 16, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. He admitted to molesting one former student in 2014, and another in 2011, Ardalani said. Both girls were 15 years old when the abuse started.
Park taught at Los Altos High School at the time of the crimes, and previous worked as a “walk-on” football coach at Ruben. S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills, and taught at Western Christian School in Upland.
Park is expected to receive three years in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing Dec. 3, officials said. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Under a negotiated plea deal, four additional charges related to child-molestation are to be dismissed at the sentencing hearing, Ardalani said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies first arrested Park in February after Hacienda La Puente Unified School District officials first learned of a sexual relationship between Park and a 15-year-old student, investigators said.
As the investigation into the 2014 allegations was ongoing, “A former student came forward and revealed Park had sexually abused her in 2011,” Ardalani said.
ARCADIA >> Police arrested a convicted sex offender Friday after he was found nude, sitting atop a vibrator and surrounded by pornography on the grounds of an Arcadia church, officials said.
Paul Allan McQuown, 55, of Azusa is accused of indecent exposure following Friday’s arrest, which took place shortly after 4 p.m. at the Arcadia Congregational Church, 2607 S. Santa Anita Ave., according to Arcadia police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A groundskeeper at the church called police after finding McGuown nude, sitting on the vibrator under some trees on the church property, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
“He had a lot of pornographic material with him,” Castro said. The nude man also had a knife within reach.
Responding police officers found McQuown and took him into custody, the lieutenant said. He was expected to be booked for indecent exposure.
According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, McGuown has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1992. He already had a pending case for failure to register as a sex offender at the time of his arrest Friday.
In recent years, McQuown has been convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia six times, failure to register as a sex offender twice and trespassing, possession of a controlled substance and being under the influence of a controlled substance, records show.
In the 2000s, McQuown was convicted of lewd conduct in public, possession of drug paraphernalia twice, and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records. In the 1990s, he was convicted of indecent exposure five times, as well as trespassing.
Despite his numerous sex-related convictions, McGuown is not listed on California’s statewide database of registered sex offenders.
It was not clear Friday why he was not listed, though not all convicted sex offenders are subject to public disclosure of their information on the database.
Though indecent exposure is often considered a misdeamnor offense, because of his prior convictions, McQuown was booked on suspicion of a felony, police said.
He was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.
INDUSTRY >> Sheriff’s deputies arrested three convicted sex offenders during a parole compliance check Friday, authorities said.
The compliance checks were carried out between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. throughout the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s Industry Station, which includes Industry, La Puente, La Habra Heights and nearby unincorporated county areas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Sixteen sexual registrants were contacted at which time their homes along with their computers were searched to ensure they were following the terms of their parole,” according to the statement. “Three registrants were arrested for violations of the terms of their parole and were booked at the Industry Sheriff’s Station.”
The identities of those arrested and the specific violations they are accused of were not released.
Friday’s operation was carried out by the Sheriff’s Special Victim Bureau’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the U.S. Marshals Service, officials added.
The sheriff’s department is charged with monitoring more than 3,500 registered sex offenders residing in Los Angeles County.