SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
By Alex Groves
Authorities are looking for a suspect after an autistic man was sexually assaulted in a bathroom at the San Juan Capistrano Public Library earlier this year.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) officials said in a news release that the incident happened on April 16.
The victim went into the restroom around 1:15 p.m. Shortly after a man, carrying papers and a manila envelope, entered the restroom and sexually assaulted the victim, according to the release.
Authorities described the suspect as a man who weighs between 180 and 200 pounds and is 5 feet, 9 inches tall. At the time of the incident he was wearing blue jeans, black tennis shoes and a white long-sleeved shirt with an American flag on the front.
Surveillance video shows the victim leave the restroom and the suspect leave behind him.
OCSD spokesperson Carrie Braun said that the victim, part of a special-needs group volunteering at the library, informed a group leader of the assault.
Braun said there appears to have been a delay between when the assault happened and when the incident was reported to authorities. She said she didn’t know whether the victim himself waited to tell the group leader, or the group leader waited to alert authorities. The suspect had left the library by the time deputies arrived.
Though the incident occurred in April, authorities waited to share more information with the public about it because they wanted to exhaust certain investigative leads. They wanted to see whether people at the library knew the suspect or if he might return in the months following the assault, Braun said.
Braun said that the incident appears to be an isolated one, but that authorities won’t know that for sure until they are able to identify a suspect.
Sheriff’s officials are encouraging anyone with information about the incident to contact investigators at 714.647.7464 or dispatch at 949.770.6011. Anonymous tips can be made to OC Crime Stoppers at 1.855.TIP.OCCS.