Suspect Arrested for Sexually Assaulting a Child in Public Library Restroom

Staff Reports

Riverside – Earlier this month a father and his two young children were at the SPC Jesus S. Duran Eastside Public Library.  The Library is located at 4033 Chicago Avenue in the Eastside neighborhood of Riverside. At around 5:00 pm, his six-year-old son went to the restroom on his own. Video cameras at the library captured the boy walking toward the restroom as an unknown Hispanic male suspect watched. The suspect followed the boy into the restroom and sexually assaulted him. Following the assault, the suspect quickly fled the library on foot and ran through a nearby shopping center and proceeded toward University Avenue.

The victim informed his father of the assault and the father immediately notified library staff. Riverside PD was called and officers responded to the library and began their investigation. An exhaustive search for the subject was conducted in the surrounding area however the police were unable to locate the suspect.

Detectives from the Sexual Assault – Child Abuse Unit assumed the investigation and were able to quickly identify the suspect as Juan Francisco Palacios, a 29-year-old male transient living in Riverside. Once identified, detectives coordinated their efforts to locate Palacios with members of the Riverside County S.A.F.E. (Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement) Task Force, Riverside County Probation, and the Riverside Police Department’s METRO Team (SWAT). The METRO Team also utilized their partnership with the United States Marshals Service in the search for the suspect.

A short time later, Riverside PD was contacted by the main branch of the Riverside Public Library, located at 3581 Mission Inn Avenue, who reported that a subject matching the description of Palacios was at the library. When officers arrived, the subject was safely detained and identified as the suspect they were looking for. Palacios was arrested and taken to the police station for questioning by detectives. He was later booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center on a single charge of sexual assault against a minor under the age of 10 and probation violations. Palacios is currently on probation for possession of child pornography and is required to register as a sex offender.

If anyone has information regarding this investigation, please contact Detective Daniel Mercadefe at (951) 353-7120 or dmercadefe@riversideca.gov, or Detective Stacie Ontko at (951) 353-7121 or sontko@riversideca.gov.

 

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