At least five teenage girls across multiple cities in Ventura County were allegedly sexually assaulted by a man named Mario Gonzalez Solano, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release announcing his arrest Friday.
Ventura County prosecutors have since charged Solano with 14 felony counts, including rape and lewd acts against children, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies first received a report of Solano allegedly sexual assaulting a 17-year-old girl on June 4. Just two days later, detectives conducted a sting operation. Posing as a 16-year-old girl, investigators pretended to be interested in having a sexual relationship with him.
At some point, Solano agreed to pick up the teenager with the intention of having sexual relations with her, traveling from Thousand Oaks to Camarillo to do so, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Upon arriving to meet her, he was arrested by authorities.
He was then booked into the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility.
Investigators learned of more allegations of sexual abuse by Solano over the next several weeks, primarily involving him targeting girls who authorities believe had run away from home.
Those accusations of assault had gone unreported, according to the Sheriff’s Office, as more evidence was uncovered after his arrest. The agency’s investigation indicates Solano gave alcohol, hotel rooms, drugs and transportation to teenage girls before sexually assaulting them between July 2015 and April 2018.
Authorities believe he assaulted at least five girls — including three 14-year-old girls, a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old — in the cities of Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and a beach in an unincorporated area of Ventura.
He found some of the victims through so-called “juvenile contacts” he made during the alleged crime spree, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
After his arrest on June 4, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office filed one felony count of communicating with a minor to commit a lewd act and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor against him, according to the department.
When detectives later learned of other allegations of sexual assault, the DA’s office filed additional charges against him — including one felony count of forcible rape, one felony count of forced oral copulation, seven felony counts of lewd acts against children and four felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with minors.
Solano will next appear in court on July 9. He is being held on $500,000 bail.