Years of investigation has led to the arrest of a man accused of sexually abusing underage girls and he has been flown from Washington to Orange County to face charges, police said Sunday.
With the assistance of U.S. Marshals, 67-year-old Gerardo Garcia Lopez was taken into custody on Oct. 26 after an arrest warrant was issued. Detectives with the Tustin Police Department flew to Spokane, Washington, to bring Lopez back to Orange County to face charges.
According to police, the O.C. District Attorney's Office filed six felony counts of lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14 against Lopez — allowing a warrant to be issued for his arrest. He had waived extradition before detectives brought him back to California.
Lopez's arrest comes after years of investigation. In May 2016, a girl came forward to police to report Lopez had abused her.
"The victim in this case ... was now 14-years-old and alleged the crime occurred approximately 10 years prior," police said in a news release.
But it wasn't the first time Lopez had been accused of sexually abusing an underage girl. Five years prior, in December 2011, police received a report of a 13-year-old girl who had possibly been sexually abused by the adult friend of her babysitter.
The suspect was Lopez and detectives investigated the allegation. But there was not enough evidence to have criminal charges filed against him, according to Tustin police.
There appears to be no relation between the two girls who reported being abused. However, following the second allegation, officials launched a "lengthy and exhaustive investigation," police said in a news release.
Eventually the case was presented to the DA's office, and on Oct. 4, prosecutors filed the charges against Lopez.
He has since been booked into Orange County Jail and is being held on $1 million bail, according to police.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Nguyen at 714-573-3372.