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Man charged in sex assaults at library, JWA

14 Mar

Article Tab: robert-anaheim-claudio-hiSANTA ANA – A man has been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in a library bathroom and an 18-year-old man in a bathroom at John Wayne Airport, authorities said.

Robert Howard Claudio, 23, of Anaheim Hills is facing three counts of lewd acts on a child under 14, one count of false imprisonment by violence and one count of sexual battery by restraint, all felonies. He is also charged with one misdemeanor count of battery, with a sentencing enhancement for substantial sexual conduct with a child, according to a news release from the District Attorney’s Office.

He is being held at the Orange County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

He is accused of approaching the 13-year-old boy Friday afternoon in the Orange County Public Library in Tustin while the victim was waiting for his mother to pick him up. He allegedly lured the teen into a library bathroom and molested him by engaging in substantial sexual conduct, according to the news release.

The teen escaped from the bathroom and ran to the Tustin Police Department nearby and reported the assault.

While the teen was telling his story to police, Claudio left the library and saw a civilian police service officer driving nearby. He stopped the officer at El Camino and Main Street and told him he had been involved in something at the library, Tustin police Lt. Pat Welch said.

Claudio admitted the sexual assault, Welch said, and was arrested.

Claudio is also accused of approaching an 18-year-old man Aug. 27 in a terminal at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and engaging him in a conversation before grabbing his penis over his clothing, according to prosecutors.

The man went into an airport bathroom and Claudio followed him into a stall.

While together in the stall, Claudio tried to pull the man’s underwear down and asked him to engage in sex, prosecutors said.

The man was able to escape and reported the assault to Orange County sheriff’s deputies.

Charges were not filed then because of a lack of corroboration at the time.

Claudio is expected to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on March 29. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison and will be required to register as a lifetime sex offender.

Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is asked to contact Tustin police Det. Pam Hardacre at 714-573-3248 or Supervising District Attorney investigator Lou Gutierrez at 714-347-8794.

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