Huntington Beach

Child Sexual Assault Suspect Accused of Using Babysitters to Provide Young Victims

An eight-month investigation led to an undercover Huntington Beach Police Department operation and the arrest of a man suspect in sexual assaults that authorities say might have occurred over several decades.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Orange County authorities are attempting to identify victims of a 57-year-old man accused of grooming women to babysit young children who were then sexually assaulted at Southern California hotels.

Jason Valentine Esparza was arrested April 7 following an eight-month investigation that culminated in an undercover operation. The sexual assaults involving children as young as 4 are believed to have occurred over several decades, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

The Huntington Beach Police Department investigation began with with a tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children program in September 2022. In the eight months that followed, HBPD detectives posing as a woman babysitting a 4-year-old communicated with the suspect.

"During those communications, Esparza is accused of expressing his desire to perform very specific sexual acts on the child," the prosecutors said in a news release.

Esparza was arrested April 7 after he entered a Huntington Beach hotel room where he was told the child was located.

Arraignment is scheduled for next week on three felony counts of attempted oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child 10 years old or younger and two felony counts of attempted forcible lewd act on a child under. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Local

Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.

Owner of beloved Olvera Street burro pleads with board commissioners to stay in business

Hit-and-run driver sought after striking 84-year-old woman in Hollywood

The suspect is originally from Ohio, but has connections to Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Fullerton, prosecutors said.

It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

Anyone with additional information about the case was asking to call the Huntington Beach Police Department at 714-375-5066. Anonymous tips can be made to OC Crime Stoppers by calling 855-847-6227.

Contact Us