Police Tuesday announced the arrest of an East Los Angeles College student who allegedly befriended and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old fellow student, and investigators said they suspect there may be other victims.
Joao Affonso, 27, was arrested July 21 and later charged with three sex- related counts, to which he pleaded not guilty. He has since been released on $200,000 bond, police said.
Los Angeles police Capt. Ruby Flores, commanding officer of the LAPD's Hollenbeck division, said the alleged victim told investigators that Affonso befriended her at East Los Angeles College, where both attended classes.
"She relayed to family members that she had met an individual, Mr. Affonso, and he befriended her and started wooing her by asking her to study, go get coffee, kind of hang out with her, become friends," Flores said.
"Ultimately it progressed where ... the suspect eventually lured the juvenile victim to his place of residence here in Boyle Heights. He did sexually assault her.''
Police said they are aware of at least one other possible victim, although detectives were still investigating that case. But Flores said Affonso has been at the college for several years, and police fear there may be other victims who have not come forward.
"We do have a tendency for victims of domestic violence or rape or sexual assault not to come forward, so we're using this as an opportunity again to encourage women to know and understand what a healthy relationship is all about -- what they should tolerate, what they should not and what is illegal," Flores said.
Top news of the day
The captain also said victims "can come forward without any fear of deportation or any questions about their (immigration) status."
Any other possible victims or anyone with information about Affonso was asked to call police at (323) 342-8900.
Affonso is due back in court Monday. He was charged with two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and one count of oral copulation with a minor.