Law enforcement authorities in California are asking for the public’s help in identifying additional victims of a 57-year-old man accused of grooming women to babysit children as young as four and bring them to hotels so he could molest them.
Authorities say they believe that the sexual assaults on young children have occurred for several decades.
Jason Valentine Esparza was taken into custody earlier this month and charged with three felony counts of attempted oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child 10 years old or younger and two felony counts of attempted forcible lewd act on a child under the age of 14, authorities announced.
“Someone who preys on the innocence of children for their own sexual gratification is a monster of indescribable evil,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement on Friday. “To plot, to calculate, and methodically carry out sexual attacks on unconscious children is something that can only be dreamt of and carried out by the sickest of minds. Children rely on adults for their safety and security, and as prosecutors, we do everything we can to protect our children from adults who would harm them and ensure these monsters will never be able to harm another child again.”
According to a press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the investigation into Esparza began after detectives with the Huntington Beach Police Department received an anonymous tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program in September 2022.
During an eight-month investigation, HBPD Crimes Against Persons Unit detectives began communicating with Esparza while posing as a woman who was babysitting a 4-year-old girl. During those communications, Esparza allegedly stated his desire to perform specific sexual acts on the 4-year-old, prosecutors say.
Esparza was told the child would be in a Huntington Beach hotel room on April 7, 2023. He was arrested when he showed up at the hotel on that date, officials said.
“We have significant evidence to show that he has been engaged in this activity for several decades,” said Kimberly Edds, a DA spokeswoman, said in a statement to Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC-TV.
The DA’s office did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime inquiring as to whether any of the babysitters face charges.
Esparza, originally from Ohio but with connections to Long Beach, Fullerton, and Huntington Beach, is facing up to 16 years and four months in prison if convicted on all counts. He is being held at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange in lieu of $1 million bail.
Esparza is set to appear in court for his arraignment on April 28.
Investigators are urging anyone with information relevant to the case against Esparza to contact the Huntington Beach Police Department WeTip Hotline at (714) 375-5066. Anonymous tips can also be made to OC Crime Stoppers by calling (855) 847-6227.
Next week he’ll be in the Biden administration.
“Man Accused of “Grooming” Babysitters to Assault Young Kids in Their Care”
In HIS care, not THEIR care. GET IT RIGHT…