SANTA CLARITA (CBS) — A 19-year-old Santa Clarita man has been arrested on 29 counts of felony sexual assault against 14 different female victims.
The LA County Sheriff’s Special Victim’s Bureau launched an investigation earlier this month after a female minor reported being sexually assaulted by Michael Downs of Santa Clarita. The investigation has so far turned up an additional 13 female victims, ranging in age from 12 to 16.
Detectives say Downs met many of his victims on the social networking site Facebook. He reportedly claimed to be 16-years-old, and gained his victims’ confidence by providing the names of other teenage girls he purported to be friends with. Investigators say Downs would convince the victims to meet him and then allegedly have sex with them.
The charged assaults took place during the year 2011 at various locations throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Downs was taken into custody on Dec. 15. He is being held in lieu of $1.8 million bail. The charges against him include felony Committing Lewd Acts With A Child and Unlawful Sexual Intercourse.
“For over a week we have found new victims every day as we investigate these crimes,” said Lieutenant Carlos Marquez, of the Special Victims Bureau. “We are asking the public to have some difficult discussions with their kids and contact us if there are more victims.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities by dialing (866) 247-5877, or by visiting Crime Stoppers online.