Man Arrested After Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa

Santa Ana police provided this booking photo of Javier Ortiz Pichardo on Aug. 30, 2018.

Santa Ana police provided this booking photo of Javier Ortiz Pichardo on Aug. 30, 2018.

A man accused of sexually abusing multiple children over several years in Orange County was arrested Thursday, officials announced.

Javier Ortiz Pichardo was booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of child abuse, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.

Pichardo, 45, according to O.C. Sheriff’s Department records, allegedly started molesting minors in 1999 while working as a cook at a Santa Ana restaurant called New China.

Investigators believed his first victim was a 7-year-old dining with a family.

Pichardo molested the child in the bathroom, then subsequently befriended the family and offered them food for free, according to detectives. At some point, he was allowed to pick up the victim from school, police said. The abuse continued for seven years until the family lost contact with the man, authorities added.

Police said they started looking into the case when the now 26-year-old victim saw Pichardo at a McDonald’s, took down his license plate number and called the authorities.

Detectives learned that Pichardo had been a suspect in a 2002 child annoyance case in Costa Mesa and a 2012 child molestation incident in Santa Ana.

“Neither case could be proven, so Pichardo was never arrested in these cases,” Santa Ana police said in a statement.

When officers arrested Pichardo on Thursday, they determined that he had been molesting a family member for nearly a decade, according to investigators.

He confessed to molesting the 26-year-old and the family member, police said. Authorities were revisiting the 2002 and 2012 cases.

Pichardo was being held on $1,000,000 bail.

Anyone with information could contact Detective Jessica Guidry at 714-245-8530, jguidry@santa-ana.org or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.