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Sex offender arrested for allegedly soliciting children at downtown L.A. housing complex

January 26, 2010 | 11:48 am

Lapdmug180 Los Angeles police detectives have arrested a known sex offender who allegedly solicited youngsters at the William Mead Homes project near downtown.

Marco Julio Gonzales, 41, of San Gabriel, was arrested Monday for annoying a child under 14 and soliciting an act of prostitution, both misdemeanor crimes.

“This man is a sex registrant for indecent exposure,” said Lt. Paul Vernon. “The one sole incident he’s charged with occurred at the William Mead Housing Project. There’s a good chance he’s been to other neighborhoods, too.”

Vernon released a photo of the man and asked anyone with information on other crimes involving him to contact the LAPD detectives.

Vernon said a mother first reported that a man had approached her 12-year-old daughter a year ago and offered the girl $100 for oral sex.

“The little girl was so innocent, she did not understand the euphemism the suspect used,” Vernon said.

Authorities were not able to identify the suspect until last week, when he was seen again. A resident saw the car, recognized the man and wrote down the license plate.

“It wasn’t a surprise he was a sex registrant,” Vernon said.

Gonzales was booked on an arrest warrant and released in lieu of $40,000 bail.

The alleged crimes were misdemeanors, so police needed to identify the suspect and get a warrant from a judge in order to make an arrest.

“Otherwise, police would have had to catch him in the act, or a witness would have had to apprehend him and make a private person’s arrest,” Vernon said. “It was probably better for Gonzales the police got him and not the residents.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact  Det. Josh Riggs at (213) 972-1235. During non-business hours, call (877) LAPD-24-7.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: LAPD