Orange County authorities are asking the public for help in identifying potential victims of a Huntington Beach man accused of decades of sexually abusing children and for “grooming” women to seek babysitting jobs and children in their care bring motel rooms where he could bother her.
According to the Orange County Attorney’s Office, officials suspect the assaults took place over decades and involved victims as young as 4 years old.
Undercover cops arrested Jason Valentine Esparza in Huntington Beach after an investigation sparked by an anonymous online tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children program in September.
Authorities say detectives with the Huntington Beach Police Department contacted him when they posed as a woman babysitting a 4-year-old girl. In his communications, the suspect allegedly described specific sexual acts he intended to perform on the child, according to prosecutors.
Esparza, 57, was arrested on April 7 at a hotel in Huntington Beach, where authorities say he expected to meet the child.
He was charged with three felonies of attempted oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child under the age of 10 and two felonies of attempted violent 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, prosecutors said.
He remains in detention on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be charged on Friday.
Originally from Warren, Ohio, authorities say Esparza has ties to Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Fullerton.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Huntington Beach Police Department’s WeTip hotline at (714) 375-5066. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to OC Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.