Orange County authorities are seeking the public’s help in identifying potential victims of a Huntington Beach man accused of sexually abusing children for decades and “grooming” women to seek out babysitting jobs and bringing children in their care to motel rooms where he could molest them.
Officials suspect the assaults took place over the course of decades and involved victims as young as 4 years old, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Undercover detectives arrested Jason Valentine Esparza in Huntington Beach following an investigation sparked in September by an anonymous online tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children program.
Authorities say Huntington Beach Police Department detectives made contact with him while posing as a woman babysitting a 4-year-old girl. In his communications, the suspect allegedly described specific sexual acts he wished to perform upon the child, according to the district attorney’s office.
Esparza, 57, was arrested April 7 at a Huntington Beach hotel where authorities allege he went expecting to meet the child.
He has been 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. If convicted as charged, he faces a sentence of up to 16 years and four months, according to the district attorney’s office.
He remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.
Originally from Warren, Ohio, authorities say Esparza has connections to Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Fullerton.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Huntington Beach police WeTip Hotline at (714) 375-5066. Tips can also be made anonymously to OC Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.
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