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Sex offender charged in bathroom assaults

ClaudioAn Anaheim Hills man who allegedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy in a library bathroom and an 18-year-old man in an airport bathroom was charged Tuesday with false imprisonment and sexual battery, prosecutors said.

Robert Howard Claudio, 23, was arrested last week after the 13-year-old victim fled the Tustin Library and headed to a police station across the street to report the attack, police said.

Claudio also contacted police, identified himself as a registered sex offender and told authorities that something had happened inside the library, police said.

In August 2011, Claudio allegedly crawled under a bathroom stall at John Wayne Airport, cornered an 18-year-old man and assaulted him. The man escaped and immediately reported the assault.

Orange County sheriff’s officials investigated the case and connected Claudio to the attack but the case was not filed "due to a lack of corroboration at that time," prosecutors said.

Claudio appeared in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday but his arraignment was rescheduled to March 29, said Orange County Dist. Atty. spokeswoman Farrah Emami.

In addition to one felony count each of false imprisonment and sexual battery, Claudio is charged with misdemeanor battery and faces a sentencing enhancement for sexual conduct with a child. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison, prosecutors said.

He is being held at Men’s Central Jail in Santa Ana in lieu of $500,000 bond, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

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Photo: Robert Howard Claudio, 23, was charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment. Credit: Tustin Police Department

 
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