Sex offender arrested in sexual assault of 6-year-old boy at Riverside library

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A convicted sex offender was arrested Sunday for the alleged sexual assault of a 6-year-old boy days earlier at a library in Riverside. (Riverside Police Department)

A convicted sex offender was arrested Sunday for the alleged sexual assault of a 6-year-old boy days earlier at a library in Riverside, police said.

Juan Francisco Palacios, a 29-year-old transient, was taken into custody at the main branch of the Riverside Public Library, about 2 miles northwest of the SPC. Jesus S. Duran Eastside Library, where the incident was said to have occurred.

A father and his two young children were at the location shortly after 5 p.m. on July 18 when the man's 6-year-old boy went to the restroom alone, according to investigators. Surveillance footage from inside the library shows the boy walking toward the restroom as a man watches.

"The suspect followed after the victim and into the restroom where a sexual assault occurred," Riverside police said in a statement. "After the assault, the suspect quickly fled the library on foot and through the shopping center toward University Avenue."

The boy's father learned of the incident and reported it to library staff, prompting a response from officers who conducted a search for the assailant.

Detectives from the police department's Sexual Assault - Child Abuse Unit took over the investigation and identified Palacios as the suspect. The investigators coordinated with members of the Riverside County S.A.F.E. (Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement) Task Force, the Riverside County Probation Department, and the police SWAT team, which partnered with the U.S. Marshals Service in the search.

After being detained and questioned, Palacios was booked on one count of sexual assault against a minor under the age of 10 and probation violations. At the time of his arrest, he was on probation for possession of child pornography.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Daniel Mercadefe at (951) 353-7120 or dmercadefe@riversideca.gov, or Detective Stacie Ontko at (951) 353-7121 or sontko@riversideca.gov.
Related Topics:
child sex assaultsexual assaultsex abuse against childrensex crimeRiversideRiverside County
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