Investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying additional children who were allegedly molested by a man who groomed female babysitters to supply him with victims, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Jason Valentine Esparza, 57, was arrested on April 7 in Huntington Beach after detectives received an anonymous tip and communicated with him posing as an adult woman who was babysitting a 4-year-old girl.
“During those communications, Esparza is accused of expressing his desire to perform very specific sexual acts on the child,” the OCDA’s Office said in a press release.
Two weeks ago, “Esparza was told that the child was at a Huntington Beach hotel room and he [was] arrested by undercover detectives when he entered the room,” officials added.
Esparza is accused of perpetuating similar abuse against multiple children “over several decades.”
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, according to the OCDA’s Office.
“Someone who preys on the innocence of children for their own sexual gratification is a monster of indescribable evil,” said District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “To plot, to calculate, and methodically carry out sexual attacks on unconscious children is something that can only be dreamt of and carried out by the sickest of minds.”
Esparza was being held at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange in lieu of $1 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on April 28 at the Stephen K. Tamura Justice Center in Westminster.
If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.
“Children rely on adults for their safety and security and as prosecutors we do everything we can to protect our children from adults who would harm them and ensure these monsters will never be able to harm another child again,” Spitzer said.
Esparza is originally from Warren, Ohio, but he has connections to Long Beach and Fullerton as well as Huntington Beach.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Huntington Beach Police Department at 714-375-5066. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers by calling 855-TIP-OCCS (1-855-847-6227).