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Sex offender arrested for assaulting 13-year-old boy in Tustin Library

Robert Howard Claudio, 23, who is a registered sex offender living in Anaheim, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy at a public library in Tustin on Friday, March 9, 2012.

March 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A 23-year-old Anaheim man was arrested Friday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy at a library in Tustin.

The boy was studying at the Tustin Library at 345 E. Main Street after school when he was approached by Robert Howard Claudio. Tustin police say Claudio convinced the boy into going to the bathroom and then sodomized him inside.

"The suspect strikes up a conversation with him and through the course of the conversation they ended up in the restroom and the sexual assault occurred," said Lt. Pat Welch of the Tustin Police Department.

The boy fled and immediately reported the incident to police at a nearby station. Around the same time, Claudio left the library, spotted a civilian police services officer, told him that he's a registered sex offender and confessed to the incident.

"He related that something had happened inside the library and they might be looking for him," Welch said.

More police officers were called and Claudio was immediately detained. The boy was treated at a nearby hospital.

Authorities said the victim positively identified Claudio as the suspect who assaulted him. Claudio was arrested and was interviewed by investigators.

Residents said they were in disbelief that such an act could occur in the library.

"That's a place where all the kids are supposed to be able to go and be safe and learn," said Bonnie Guilana of Tustin.

Claudio was booked for sodomy of a minor and committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.

If you have any information regarding this case, you're urged to contact the Tustin Police Department at (714) 573-3248.