Special Victims Bureau personnel arrested three men between May 14 and June 4, during a sting to identify child predators using the Internet to engage children.
SGT. PETER HAHN | LASD NEWSROOM
In conjunction with Internet Safety Month, which takes place in June, the Special Victims Bureau Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department conducted multiple proactive “sting” operations involving the sexual exploitation of children. These Child Sexual Exploitation Operations targeted child predators using the Internet as a means to engage children.
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The first operation was conducted on May 14. Steven Brown, a 64-year-old computer programmer from the Santa Clarita Valley area was advertising for a young girl to engage in a sexual liaison.
The second operation was conducted on May 27. Joseph Dufrene, a 55-year-old aerospace worker from the Palmdale area advertised to meet a younger female to have “daddy/daughter role play fun.”
The third operation was conducted on June 4. Ernest Mancuso, a 63 year-old male from the Alhambra area advertised to engage a young female in a “daddy/daughter” relationship.
The three suspects believed they were communicating with an underage 14 year-old girl. Each had multiple opportunities to terminate the meetings they each arranged. All three suspects travelled from various locations to local parks in hopes of meeting a minor for sexual purposes, thereby committing a lewd act.
At prearranged meeting locations, each suspect was met by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau SAFE Team and the FBI SAFE Team Task Force. All were arrested and charged with arranging to meet a minor for the purpose of a lewd act.
Brown and Dufrene were released after posting $75,000 bonds and pending their arraignment. Mancuso remains in custody in lieu of $85,000 bail.
The SAFE Team conducts online sexual exploitation investigations involving children for the entire LASD jurisdiction.
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Source: Santa Clarita News