A 26-year-old Thousand Oaks man was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexually assaulting three girls and sending explicit photos and videos to a fourth child, officials said.
The investigation into Raul Garcia began in December 2019 when Thousand Oaks Police school resource officers started looking for a man who had sent a young girl sexual photos and videos, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Investigators identified Garcia as the man behind the explicit social media messages and searched his home after getting a warrant, officials said.
“Evidence located during a search of Garcia’s residence led to the discovery of three additional female juvenile victims,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
After speaking with the victims, detectives suspected Garcia of sexually assaulting each of the three underage girls, all on separate occasions.
“Garcia was using social media to prey on juvenile victims for the purpose of sending sexually explicit photos as a lure to befriend them and even meet with them to commit sexual assaults,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
The four victims identified range in age between 12 and 15 years old and are all from Thousand Oaks.
Garcia was taken into custody at his home Friday and booked on suspicion of sending harmful matter to a minor, unlawful sexual intercourse, using a minor for sexual acts, possession of child pornography, assault of a minor and genital penetration by a foreign object.
His bail was set at $250,000 and he is scheduled to appear at a Ventura County court on Aug. 25, officials said.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims who have yet to be identified, according to the news release.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Thousand Oaks Police Department School Resource Officer Deputy Amber Voorhees at 805-947-9298.
“Sexual predators commonly create social media accounts with fake profiles, using photos that make them appear to be a school-aged youth, which makes it easier to communicate with minors,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Officials reminded parents to encourage their school-aged children to set their social media accounts to private, not accept “friend” or “follow” requests from strangers and refrain from messaging with people they don’t know.