Victims sought after East L.A. clown performer is accused of child sex assault

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Florentino Gonzalez Penaloza is seen in an undated photo released Sept. 16, 2020, by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Florentino Gonzalez Penaloza is seen in an undated photo released Sept. 16, 2020, by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Detectives are searching for additional victims after a man who performs as a clown in East Los Angeles was accused of sexually assaulting a child.

An investigation was launched into 51-year-old Florentino Gonzalez Penaloza after a 10-year-old girl reported he sexually molested her between 2016 and 2020, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Penaloza performs part-time under the name Ponponio for a store called Payasos Party Supplies, officials said.

The suspect is friends with the family of the alleged victim, according to investigators.

Penaloza was arrested Sept. 6 on suspicion of committing a sex act with a child under 10 years old. He remained in custody Wednesday on $950,000 bail, the department said.

He was scheduled to be arraigned in the case on Monday, deputies said.

Detectives believe Penaloza could have additional victims due to the nature of the allegations and his involvement in children’s entertainment.

Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau tip line at 877-710-5273 or email specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477.

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