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SCV man arrested in child predator Internet sting operation

Posted: June 11, 2014 4:45 p.m.
Updated: June 11, 2014 4:45 p.m.

A 64-year-old Santa Clarita Valley man was one of three men arrested in a joint forces sting operation targeting child predators, court and sheriff’s officials announced this week.

Steven Brown of Saugus appeared May 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court on a felony charge of meeting a minor for lewd purposes, said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Brown is due back in court for a preliminary hearing setting July 17, Santiago said.

Since June is “Internet Safety Month,” the Special Victims Bureau Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team carried out multiple sting operations involving the sexual exploitation of children, officials at the bureau announced Tuesday in a news release.

“These Child Sexual Exploitation Operations targeted child predators using the Internet as a means to engage children,” officials said.

Brown was arrested in the first of three operations carried out by detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. That operation got under way on May 14, after Brown allegedly began advertising for a young girl to engage in a sexual liaison, officials said.

Brown was arrested May 14 and arraigned on the single felony count May 16.

According to a copy of the criminal complaint, Brown “did unlawfully and motivated by an unnatural and abnormal sexual interest in children arrange a meeting with undercover officer, a minor and a person defendant believed to be a minor, for the purpose of exposing the genitals and pubic and rectal area of undercover officer and defendant, and to engage in lewd and lascivious behavior, and did go to the arranged meeting place at and about the arranged time.”

The second operation was conducted May 27, when a 55-year-old aerospace worker from Palmdale identified as Joseph Dufrene allegedly advertised to meet a younger female to have “daddy/daughter role play fun,” Special Victims officials said.

The third operation was carried out on June 4, when Ernest Mancuso, 63, of Alhambra, allegedly advertised to engage a young female in a “daddy/daughter” relationship, officials said.

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 traveled from various locations to local parks in hopes of meeting a minor for sexual purposes, thereby committing a lewd act,” officials said in the news release.

“At pre-arranged meeting locations, each suspect was met by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau SAFE Team and the Federal Bureau of Investigation SAFE Team Task Force,” officials said in the news release. “All were arrested and charged with arranging to meet a minor for the purpose of a lewd act. “

Brown and Dufrene were released posting bond. Mancuso remains in custody in lieu of $85,000 bail.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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