A 54-year-old man has been charged in connection with sexually assaulting three young girls in public places in Irvine, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Christopher Eduard, of Los Angeles, is accused of exposing himself to a 9-year-old girl in a library while allegedly forcing her to read cue cards with disturbing phrases and masturbating in front of her.
He faces two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14, one count of a forcible lewd act on a child, one count of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a specific offense and one count of sexual exploitation of a child. He was also charged with one misdemeanor count of using a minor in the production of pornography and one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure.
The incident involving the 9-year-old girl occurred on March 21 while the victim was looking at children’s books in the Heritage Park Regional Library. Eduard asked the girl to help him film a video and he allegedly instructed her to film him while telling her to do and say things for the video through cue cards he held for her, officials said.
He at one point he allegedly pulled his pants down, exposed his genitals, began masturbating in front of her and forced her to touch him.
Police arrested Eduard in connection with the library incident on March 24.
“The charges he initially was arrested on had a statutory bail of $100,00, but Irvine police requested no bail given the egregiousness of the brazen sexual assault of a child in a public place,” the DA’s Office said. Bail was eventually set at $500,000, which Eduard eventually posted and he was released.
In the days following his release, however, Irvine police detectives tied Eduard to two unsolved child molestation crimes dating back to 2021 that occurred at two different Target stores in Irvine, officials said.
The DA’s office reviewed the case and approved detectives’ no-bail warrant for the 2021 incidents and Eduard was rearrested on Thursday.
Prosecutors argued that Eduard is a flight risk and a serious danger to the public, and he was ordered to be held without bail.
Eduard is now accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl at a Target on Jamboree Road on May 24, 2021.
He allegedly grabbed the girl while she was alone in a toy aisle, rubbed the girl’s genitalia over her clothes and asked her if it felt good. The girl was able to break free and ran back to her mother and siblings.
A similar incident occurred at a Target on Barranca Parkway in March or April 2021. The victim’s mother told authorities a man had grabbed her daughter’s buttocks while she was alone in the toy aisle and took pictures of her. The family reported the incident after reading about the incident that occurred at the other Target.
Eduard is scheduled to return to court on April 10 for a pretrial hearing and bail review.
He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison in state prison, as well as three years in Orange County Jail.
“High-risk sex offenders are the most dangerous kind of criminal and the most likely to re-offend. The kind of person who would prey on innocent children looking at library books or toys and sexually assault them should not be allowed to be out on bail to be able to prey on more children,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release.
“It is ludicrous that the Orange County Superior Court would abdicate its responsibility to protect the public by forcing police officers to fill out an online form to argue why a dangerous pedophile must be kept behind bars instead of being able to present the facts to a magistrate tasked with making those kinds of weighty decisions. It is blatantly obvious that this individual is a serious danger to the public and he should have never been let out in the first place.”