Man accused of sexually assaulting 13-year-old girl | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

A man is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl after convincing her to run away from home via text messages.

Lucando Watson Jr., 34, was arrested Thursday night on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

A 13-year-old girl told her school nurse as she was being treated for an unrelated injury to her arm, Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

Investigators said Watson and the girl started talking in October. Watson obtained the girl’s phone number through another young acquaintance, using that person’s phone to get her number, Salazar said. 

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Before long, text messages exchanged between them turned sexual, investigators said, including explicit images. The girl eventually agreed to run away from home.

She was picked up and taken to an area church residence where she was sexually assaulted.

Investigators obtained messages between them indicating that something sexual happened between them and that the man wanted it to happen again.

“Although this is not a trafficking case, that’s the way trafficking cases start,” Salazar said.

The sheriff said once a child runs away from home, 96 percent of children who run away are a victim of human trafficking within 48 hours.

“It’s not a stranger necessarily, it’s not some dark online predator, it’s usually somebody that they know,” Salazar said. “This suspect knew who she was. For some reason felt comfortable enough reaching out to her via text message, and for some reason felt comfortable enough approaching her in that sexual way.”

Salazar said the case is being publicized in the event anyone else has had interactions with Watson.

“The fact that he did it so comfortably, so easily without seeming distressed about it much, I just have to think there’s a distinct possibility that there are other victims out there,” he said.

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