Man Suspected of Molesting 9-Year-Old Boy in Puente Hills Mall Bathroom Is Charged

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A 45-year-old man suspected of molesting a child in a bathroom at the Puente Hills Mall earlier this month was charged Tuesday.

A person of interest being sought after a boy was sexually assaulted at Puente Hills Mall is seen in an image provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on July 21, 2016.
A person of interest being sought after a boy was sexually assaulted at Puente Hills Mall is seen in an image provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on July 21, 2016.

Investigators identified Richard Camarena as the man seen in surveillance images taken from the mall located in City of Industry on July 8, when he allegedly followed a 9-year-old boy into a bathroom and inappropriately touched him, a bulletin from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stated.

Camarena, 45, of Claremont, was arrested on July 23 and booked on suspicion of lewd acts with a child, the Sheriff’s Department stated.

He was charged Tuesday with one felony count of lewd act upon a child, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release.

The victim had gone to a movie with his family, and then the family returned to the mall, according to Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office. Back in the mall, the boy went to use the restroom, Ardalani said.

As the boy was in the locked stall, he saw it “wiggled open” and Camarena entered, according to the release.

Richard Camarena is shown in a booking photo released by LASD July 25, 2016.
Richard Camarena is shown in a booking photo released by LASD July 25, 2016.

The defendant touched the boy inappropriately and the victim struggled with him, the DA’s news release said. The boy immediately told his family what happened, and law enforcement was contacted.

Camarena was due for arraignment in Pomona Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors planned to ask that Camarena’s bail be set at $100,000.

Authorities asked for the public’s help in locating any additional possible victims. Anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 877-710-5273. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when and where the boy used the restroom. The story has been updated.

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