FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Lt. Jeff Hallock, (714) 904-7042/Gail Krause, (714) 647-1840
OC Child Exploitation Task Force Makes Arrests and Seeks Additional Victims
SANTA ANA, California – (October 28, 2013) – On or about October 9, 2013, a concerned parent contacted the School Resource Officer (SRO) at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo to report an inappropriate relationship between a minor female, 13 years or younger, and an adult male.
The SRO contacted the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF) for further investigation. Upon receiving the report, OCCETF investigators conducted follow up interviews with the female victim referred to as J. Doe. J. Doe told investigators she had a sexual relationship with a person she believed to be her boyfriend named “Alex Valesquez.” It was later determined that Valesquez is Benjamin Avila, 26, of Anaheim. J. Doe also stated she had sex with another adult male, who she referred to as “Alex’s Uncle,” who was later identified as Jose Luis Gonzalez, 63, of Anaheim. J. Doe said the sexual relationships occurred from March 2013 until September 2013. J. Doe explained the two men orchestrated a story that she had to have sex with Gonzalez in order to continue to see Avila.
While talking with investigators, J. Doe provided a detailed description of Gonzalez’s home and vehicle; which was later confirmed by investigators. Investigators located explicit text messaging between J. Doe and Avila which also implicated Gonzalez.
On October 24, 2013, the OCCETF executed search warrants at the residences of Avila and Gonzalez. Investigators placed Avila and Gonzalez under arrest for child molestation of a female, 13 years or younger, communicating with a minor online and arranging to meet a minor for a lewd act. Avila’s bail has been set at $100,000 and Gonzalez’s bail at $1,000,000. Gonzalez’s bail was set substantially higher, due in part to a 2000 allegation that Gonzalez molested a female under 10 years old. That case, however, was dismissed.
In addition, investigators located electronic communication that occurred between Avila and Gonzalez which indicates they have together targeted and met other females for sex.
The investigation related to Avila and Gonzalez is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding possible additional victims or with information they believe may assist in this investigation is asked to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at (714) 647-7000, or submit an anonymous tip to OC Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.
About the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF)
The Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF) is a multi-agency team which includes Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Newport Beach Police Department, Huntington Beach Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service assigned to investigate Internet-related crimes against children as well as crimes involving the possession, production and distribution of child pornography.