Police: Man had sex with teen after Facebook talks

A Norwalk man is facing time behind bars after admitting he had sex with a 15-year-old girl he thought was 16, police said.
Annie Zelm
Jun 29, 2011

A Norwalk man is facing time behind bars after admitting he had sex with a 15-year-old girl he thought was 16, police said.

Garrett Espinoza, 20, was charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony carrying a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.

Norwalk police said Espinoza and the Monroeville girl met through a mutual friend several months ago and began chatting on Facebook.

When they met for the first time in person and watched a movie together, Espinoza made sexual advances and ultimately convinced the girl to have sex, Norwalk police Capt. Mike Conney said.

The girl's mother contacted police June 11 after she saw sexually explicit conversations between the two on the girl's Facebook page.

Police interviewed the girl and Espinoza, who both admitted they had sex, Conney said.

Espinoza told police he talked to the girl online, but she indicated she was 16 years old, the age of consent in Ohio. He was unable to provide police any documentation of those conversations.

Norwalk law director Douglas Clifford determined there was enough evidence to charge Espinoza, so a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Espinoza turned himself in Sunday and was taken to the Huron County jail.

A bail bondsman has since posted his $10,000 bond, according to a jail spokesman. Espinoza does not appear to have a prior criminal history in Huron County, according to court records.

Comments

Julie R.

This kid looks like he's only 16 himself! Now his life will be ruined --- probably will have to report as a sex offender for the next 20 years. I think they better start putting the blame on some of these girls.

Eatitthugs

Why is it always the guys fault for everything?  When is the law going to start ruining some of these darn women? 

grandmasgirl

Julie R.

I agree with you. It seems girls are more promiscous than boys these days. I cannot understand how anyone can be "talked into" having sex. Either you want to or you don't. If you say no and you are not raped, and then you decide to have sex then it is consensuel. I have some teen neighbors who get very loud, and I will tell you, boys are boys and I have even heard these girls bring the subject of sex up with them.

Thetwin

The problem is that he is an adult and has to follow the laws and rules that come with being an adult.

got it commin

Dont feel sorry for this snake in the grass people, evreyone that knows this creep is not surprised he's in this position...he's been at this along time. Many young girls in the county are alot safer now that this sweet talker been caught. He thinks with his thing, not his brain. I for one hope he gets the preditor tatto on his forehead...he earned it..

Cross

I think he should get a slap on the wrist, but this kid should not be branded a sex offender for the next 20 years due to one consensual sex encounter with a girl a few years younger than him who is almost an adult.

I'm all for locking up predators and throwing away the key, but this is a great example of a flawed law that needs to be modified to allow for more circumstances.

cherrybee

I hope that the girls he has been with have been tested for STD's.  If he is as 'active' as it's been rumored - they all need tested..including him!    A lot of those nasty infections can be transmitted because the person carrying them does NOT know they have it. 

SamAdams

I have zero sympathy for men—even young ones—who prey on children. But a 20 year-old sleeping with a 16 year-old (or so he says he believed) is another story. Girls lie about their age all the time. I know; I WAS one. And yes, technically, I probably could have got a guy in trouble for statutory rape, but the bottom line was that I was as consenting as he was.

Unless there are allegations of legitimate assault and/or rape, this is one of those grey issues where everybody's hurt by the fact the law is so black and white. Yes, he should be more careful to be SURE he knows how old the girl is. No, she shouldn't have slept with him. But to label him a sexual predator is at least as inappropriate as it is to pretend this girl is a victim.

I'm well aware that the law is the law and that we (and he, unfortunately) are stuck with it. But I'm also firmly convinced that the laws regarding statutory rape have GOT to be changed to better reflect reality than some sort of zero-tolerance fantasy.

Informed

I don't see this as a gray area at all.  The GIRL is fifteen,  He is a 20-year-old MAN.  Even if he thought she was sixteen, she is still a minor and he has been an adult for two years plus.  Why would a 20-year-old man be hanging around with a girl of fifteen and not with women his own age?  I'll tell you why--because they can be more easily manipulated.  What 15-year-old girl wouldn't be flattered by an older guy being interested in her and sweet-talking her?  I don't care if she got naked and sat on his lap.  As an adult it is his obligation to make sure that an inappropriate boundary is not crossed.  If he fails to do so, he will pay the consequences.  That is part of the responsibility of adulthood. 

Taxpayer

So the premise is he "looks like he's only 16" so he should be given a free pass?  I am sure the MOTHER of the juvenile girl certainly agrees with that!  Ha! Ha!  In this liberal society, you are SUPPOSED to KNOW better at TWENTY YEARS-OF-AGE compared to a female who is only FIFTEEN!!  Your own liberal state has a LAW where one party of sex can NOT be under 16 and there can NOT be an age difference of over FOUR YEARS.  You know, like when a UNION teacher decides to pick a victim from all the UNDER AGED students?  I can hear the liberal EXCUSES now, "Oh, they both LOOK the same age.  They are only kids.  He NEVER knew she was 15 so it could NEVER be his fault.  He was ONLY off by one year.  All kids do it.  Boys will be boys.  It is the new progressive society.  We must have compassion.  We need to open our arms of friendship."  The LAW is in place to protect under aged juveniles against adults who are PREDATORS.  "Oh, just give him probation, it is the liberal way."  Yeah right.  That is until YOU are one of the parents who will eventually end up raising another baby in the family.  Oops, I forgot, liberals solve their "inconvenient" pregnancies at the clinic and DEMAND taxpayers PAY for it.  Sorry, I should have KNOWN better.  Ha! Ha!  He will NOT be a sex offender for twenty years.  He will be a sex offender for LIFE!  Such a record does NOT get expunged after twenty-years of being turned down for a job, failure to get a security clearance, failure to get into the military, failure to do anything, and rightfully so.  It is all about rational choice.  I sure hope that few minutes of pleasure was WORTH it.  "Oh, just give him another chance, he is only 20 and so young.  Anyone can make a mistake."  I call total liberal BS on that!  How about LEARNING to hold someone accountable for their rational CHOICE and decisions for a change instead of ALWAYS making liberal excuses for FAILURES.  I am sure YOU liberals think you are wonderful and righteous for ALL your voting decisions.  Yeah, I can just look around Sandusky, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Chicago and SEE just how wonderful and successful the great and true liberal agenda has PROVEN to be.  Ha! Ha!   

Red Baby-Shoes

wow you really do blame everything on the liberals. you need to seek mental help...and fast. at first i thought you were just a troll...now i see you are a very sick indvidual or a very stupid one. i feel so sorry for your loved ones :(

friendly.fire

Egads, are you totally ignorant? Just a question. You can't blame liberals for the crimes in those cities, most criminals have no sense of politics. Even if you choose to say so, just remember there have been far more conservatives leaders in this country than liberal leaders to lead these criminals to the "light". I'm not off and saying that either or make totally great decisions, 'cause let's face it, they both can have some pretty bad ideas.

Anyway, there is no need to name drop liberals at all (if you want to do that, I'm sure there is a nice Conservative forum for you to post and rant on). This article has nothing to do with that, it more has to do with the new meaning for teenagers to "hang out".

JB1986

tygftht

cezp

Wow, I actually agree with what Taxpayer has to say (even though I'm Liberal on some issues). My question is -- they met through a bunch of mutual friends so didn't he ever talk to his friends to find out about her? It wouldn't be hard to realize that she is way too young for him His argument is she said she's 16? Too bad. The law says you're guilty even if you think she's older. I believe he knew she was 15 but thought no one would find out. It doesn't matter if it used to be socially acceptable. It was socially accetpable for Romeo to have sex with a much younger, 13 year old Juliet during Shakespeare's time. It's not acceptable today. Why would he be going after 16 year olds, even if he thought she was that old? Can't he get girls his own age (or at least 18)???

Thetwin

JB1986 - You can't pick and choose which laws and customs you want to retain from the early 1900's.

starryeyes83

JB ... The  key word being:  married.   

Julie R.

How many 20-year olds ~ when it comes to girls ~ think with their "brains." (I'll bet you didn't either, Taxpayer)

That said ~  had a 20-year-old molested a little girl, I would say cut it off and lock him up for the rest of his worthless life, but some of these 15-year old girls out there look and dress like they're 25 and THEY are the ones that are doing all the chasing after these "older men."  I just think it's wrong that the girls get absolutely nothing when the majority of the time it's the GIRLS that are doing the chasing yet these 20-year-old "men" end up ruining their lives by having to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives!  

ERNesbitt

ORC 2907.04 - Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor: (A) No person who is eighteen years of age or older shall engage in sexual conduct with another, who is not the spouse of the offender, when the offender knows the other person is thirteen years of age or older but less than sixteen years of age, or the offender is reckless in that regard.

They must have changed the law since I turned 18. (It used to be a rolling 24 month window.) But now it appears that as long as they are *actually* over 16 it is not considered statutory rape if it is deemed "consentual".

Unfortunately for our boy, Garrett... too bad he didn't do his research before "proposing his thesis" so to speak.

Should he be labelled a sexual predator? Maybe... lots of men marry younger women (four years isn't that big of a deal), but if you're 20 and still trying to score with high school sophmores there is a maturity issue going on. Should the girl be punished, too? Absolutely. She lied about her age, she is just as responsible.

If you lie about your age to purchase alcohol, both the buyer and the seller are responsible under the law. This should be no different.

cezp

@Julie R -- your argument (they look and act 25) is about as valid as the argument "she was passed out, but she never said no." It's not a valid argument. This is more than she looked good and he wanted her. He groomed this girl on Facebook, met her to "watch a movie" and then went for what he wanted all along -- he made advances for sex and got his way. His goal from the beginning wasn't to get to know her, fall in love, make a friend, etc. He wanted sex with someone he knew he could coerce (thus the reason he isn't dating girls his age).

cezp

Deleted

cezp

Look at the smug look on his face. It says "I'm covered by lying and saying I thought she was old enough." Luckily it doesn't matter how old he thought she was (the law says it doesn't matter how old you THINK the other person is if the person is too young). The law is the law. He broke it. It doesn't matter if you think the girl should be responsible -- if that's your opinion then campaign for the law to be changed and see how far you get.

ERNesbitt

@cezp: I know exactly how far it would get. The parents of all these little snowflakes would be up in arms over the suggestion that their princess might have been completely responsible for her own actions. I do agree with your assessment about "dating" girls he can more easily influence.

Centauri

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/2007/may/18/ex-cop-out-prisonformer-sandusky-officer-probation-was-convicted-sex-minor

A former Sandusky police officer has been released from prison after serving 11 months for a sex offense with a minor.

James G. Fitzpatrick, 40, was released Thursday on five-year probation.

In the case, a 15-year-old girl was sexually abused in 2003 after she met Fitzpatrick in a cop ride-along program. Fitzpatrick was a Sandusky police officer from 1992 until his resignation in 2005. He was found guilty of four counts of criminal sexual acts and sentenced in June 2006.

Compare these two cases involving a 15 year old girl.

Handcuffs? 11 months?

 

icare201138

Julie R.  I have no compasion for sexual predators, what-so-ever.  However, I would advise you to be careful.  Sometimes things aren't always as they seem. HYPNOSEX is RAPE/SEXUAL ASSAULT.  Espesially when the subject/victim says NO repeatedly.  One would think people who possess doctorates and are studying to be attorneys would understand the simple word NO NO NO.

I am not making any assumptions about this man's actions.  I am just stating, what appears to be "chasing" after someone, may not always be the case.  

 

 

grandmasgirl

This is part of the article from the Norwalk paper:

"When the two met in person June 7, the victim attempted to avoid sexual conduct with Espinoza, but "was pressured" to have sex with him. The prosecutor said Espinoza set up another liaison with the girl later."

Why would the girl agree to another meeting with him if she didn't want to have sex and was "pressured" into it in the first place. Somewhere along the line girls have to share some of the responsiblity. AND it is only one person's word against anothers. I am not saying it was right of him to pursue it after she had told him "no" once, but if she agreed to the second meeting, she is at fault to. And 15 or 16, you are old enough to know right from wrong. You notice that she didn't run and tell her parents. I had to fight a boy off once, I went and told my parents and they took care of the situation.

icare201138

What if she called 9/11.  What if she called Rape Crisis? What if she told school officials?  What if she threw signs down on the floor and pasted them all over the bathrooms saying HYPNOSEX/RAPE- call the Prosecutor?   What if it was NINE MONTHS OF EXTREME STALKING AND PRESSURE constant NO's.  Then what?  What if he threatened her physically? What if he admitted to going too far sexually, on the stand?  At some point attorney and judges should be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed. When one is in shock, its hard to think clearly grandmasgirl.  At some point, adult males, who know better, who are married or supposedly in committed relationships, need to stop being disgusting and get that NO REALLY MEANS ABSOLUTELY NO.  Really Grandmas girl, if we get right down to, if people abstained from casual sexual contact, and only had intimate relationships with those they are in committed relationships with, he/she would be less likely to be accused of innappropriate sexual contact, coercion, hyponosex, rape, sexual assualt. 

SimpleEnough

It is not just about the sex, it is the accomplishment, the triumph, the trophy...the power over another. Get it. It wasn't about love. IMO.

toredown11

Taxpayer, you really need to seek some therapy. This isn't a liberal/conservative issue, it's a moral and legal issue. The guy broke the law - enough said.

Seriously, get some help.

grandmasgirl

Icare201138:

Then what you are saying is just because the girl says it happens, it had to have happened? Kids have been warned over and over not to discuss these things on the internet, but they still do. Why did a 15 or 16 year old girl meet with a man that age in the first place? There is rape and there is willingness. I don't think the 20 year old should have "convinced" the girl to have sex, but if she had not gone to wherever he was, then the question of being convinced would not have happened. I am not saying it was ok, but somewhere in this scenario the girl has to take some of the blame. I am not sticking up for rapists. All I am saying is that there are girls out there who want to act like adults and then cry when they are treated like adults. I was not there in this instance, so I cannot say who is right and who is wrong. All I am saying is that it is not always 100% the man's fault 

Informed

Grandmasgirl, it is ALWAYS the ADULT'S fault.  The responsibility to make sure an inappropriate boundary isn't crossed always falls in the adult.  That's what it means to be an adult. 

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