EL CENTRO, Calif. - Imperial County Sheriff’s Office reported that 21-year-old Agustin Bastidas was arrested on Monday afternoon for attempted lewd acts on a child under fourteen years of age. A Sheriff’s press release stated Bastidas was arrested along the 500th block of Adams Avenue in El Centro.
City of Imperial resident Adam Espinoza and his family usually visit the area where Bastidas was arrested.
“I’m very concerned. My grand-children are growing up and to me that’s kind of scary to see them walking around and somebody watching them and even contacting with them in any way. I’ve dealt with children like that as well that have gone through that and it is very scary to see what happens as they get older,” Espinoza said.
He said the effects of a child predator attack can be devastating on the victim.
“It affects them not just as a child but as they grow up to adults, it really affects them and makes their life actually miserable,” Espinoza said.
El Centro resident Josie Curiel said the whole family is affected by an attack.
“Once your child becomes a target, once your child becomes a victim, and if your child is molested or raped or killed, it’s a traumatic event for you as a parent. Your whole life changes. You ask yourself what did I miss? How come I didn’t see that? What were the red flags?” Curiel said.
She advises parents should supervise children’s use of the internet.
“Secure the internet. There are some safety devices for parents that they can use to see what sites the children are on,” Curiel said.
Espinoza wants the community to help prevent crimes against children.
“If the community would come together and just keep an eye on kids and watching the people that are getting near them, I think it would be a safer place,” Espinoza said.
Curiel said parents must be always on their guard because an attack could come from a stranger or from someone close by.
“It could be a teacher, it could be a doctor, it could be a lawyer it could be anybody,” Curiel said.
Bastidas is also charged with attempted removal of child without parental consent, meeting with a minor to commit a sexual act, distributing harmful matter and arranging to meet with a minor to commit a sexual act. His bail was set at $100,000.