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Woman allegedly groped on Disney park ride

February 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A woman says a visit to Disneyland with her daughter turned into a nightmare while aboard one of the rides because of what another park guest did. A man and his friend are wanted for questioning as police investigate whether the woman was a victim of sexual battery. Christina Esquivel looks at a photo of the man she alleges sexually assaulted her with her 12-year-old daughter Alexus right next to her while riding the Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure Park last Friday afternoon.

"The lights go out, and you drop, and when the lights went out is when he grabbed my left breast," said Esquivel. "I grabbed his hand and tried to shove him off of me. I didn't know what to think at the time -- just shock."

The photo was shot during the ride, then later sold to customers. The picture was taken just seconds after the alleged incident. The photo shows Esquivel looking at the unidentified man. She says he then reached across and said he was sorry.

"My mom kind of leaned over to me and tried to get away from him as much as possible," said Alexus, Christina's daughter. "And she told me, 'That guy just grabbed my boob.'"

Christina, 31, alleges the man's friend, who was seated behind him, cheered.

"After the guy grabbed me, his friend behind him was laughing and clapping," said Christina.

The Esquivels claim that right before the ride, while in line, the man and his friend were whispering to each other and leering. Her daughter even showed them her mother's engagement ring to let them know she was taken.

"I was going to tell my mom, 'Let me switch seats so that way you could be away from them and they won't bother you,'" said Alexus.

After the alleged assault, the Esquivels reported it to the ride operator, who then called security. Nearly 10 minutes had passed.

"It takes a period of time to walk to certain places. So I would not say that's out of the ordinary; I would say that's pretty average for a response time," said Anaheim Police Sergeant Rick Martinez. "It's just unfortunate that this guy who obviously knew he did something wrong blended in and got away as fast as he could."

Christina filed a police report. Police are trying to identify the two men and want to talk with the man and his friend to get their version of events.

"Violated. I just think, 'How can anybody do that? It's Disneyland," said Christina. "I'm there to spend time with my daughter, not to be assaulted like that."

In a statement, Disneyland officials say:

"We take this seriously and have no tolerance for this type of behavior. We are working with the Anaheim Police Department on the next steps."

If you recognize either of the two men, you are asked to call Anaheim Police at (714) 765-3439.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.


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