CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A Clovis man was arrested by local and federal officials Tuesday after online attempts to meet and rape children, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
As part of their regular duties, detectives with the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force monitor social media platforms for potential sexual solicitations toward children, said spokesman Tony Botti. In this case, the suspect, identified as Anthony Hale-Rodriguez, 28, unknowingly contacted an undercover detective.
Officials reported that the 6 feet 4 inches, 310 pound man had expressed a desire to rape young girls and made requests to meet with them in person.
Detectives found that Hale-Rodriguez lived at an apartment complex in the area of 1300 Minnewawa Ave. in Clovis, Botti said. Law enforcement officers, including officials from Homeland Security Investigations, went there Tuesday night and arrested Hale-Rodriguez without any problems.
A search warrant of his residence resulted in the recovery of electronic devices that will be analyzed for illegal material. Some firearms were also seized.
Officials reminded the public to be vigilant when it comes to visiting websites and social media platforms.
Parents are also advised to monitor their children’s internet usage and be aware of the applications they are using, Botti said. Parents should keep the dialogue open with their children in order to build trust.
Online predators often pretend to be someone else in order to lure their victims in and take advantage of them. Officials advised that children should be taught to be wary of the person on the other end of the chat line; many times people are not who they say they are.
Any suspicious behavior should be reported right away to law enforcement or file a cyber tip through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.