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Man Arrested in Alleged Assault on 10-Year-Old

April 20, 1993|DAVAN MAHARAJ and DAVID HALDANE | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

MIDWAY CITY — Orange County sheriff's deputies have arrested a 30-year-old Midway City man who they allege molested a 10-year-old neighbor and recorded the acts on a home video camera.

Investigators are reviewing several seized videotapes to determine if other girls from the neighborhood appear on the tapes, said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Dick Olson.

The suspect, Daniel Raymond Dieatrick, was being held at the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Investigators arrested Dieatrick at his apartment on Sunday, two days after interviewing the girl, who said the suspect had molested her several times during the past several months, Olson said.

The suspect took photographs and made home videos of the alleged molestations, Olson said. Among the items seized were several graphic pictures and videos of the alleged victim, he said.

Noting that the suspect often bought gifts for neighborhood children who he frequently entertained in his apartment, Olson said there is a "very strong possibility" that there are other young victims.

Dieatrick lives in Midway Manor, a two-story stucco apartment complex in a working-class neighborhood, just across the street from the Cecil B. DeMille Elementary School in Westminster School District.

On Monday afternoon, children surrounded an ice cream truck while their parents gathered outside to talk about how they were stunned and saddened at Dieatrick's arrest during the weekend.

Neighbors said they were shocked to see Dieatrick being led away in handcuffs by deputies, who also carried away his video camera and a wooden storage cabinet.

Residents of the apartment complex said Dieatrick frequently bought Barbie dolls, Ninja Turtles, video games and other expensive toys for young children who would gather in his one-bedroom apartment to play Nintendo.

"When I heard this, it made me sick to my stomach," said Kathy Rodriguez, who acknowledged that her three children have on a few occasions visited the suspect's apartment. "It's sad because he seems like such a nice guy."

"He hangs around with nothing but children," said Darleen Altman, manager of the apartment complex. "He never has any (adult) visitors. He always seems very good with the children."

Only last week, Dieatrick, who has lived at Midway Manor since November, 1989, gave notice that he was moving June 1 to Florida, Altman said.

Neighbors said Dieatrick was recently laid off from McDonnell Douglas, where he worked as an electronics technician.

Guadalupe Munoz, whose apartment is near Dieatrick's, said the children in the complex "love him a lot."

"He's nice and a very passive person," Munoz said. "But we used to wonder why the kids were always inside his house. He used to close up the drapes with the kids in his apartment."

"He was like a dad to them," said Kathy Jung, another neighbor. "But (the arrest) has shocked the hell out of me."

Dieatrick will be arraigned on charges that he committed "lewd and lascivious acts with a child" when he appears in Municipal Court in Westminster this morning, Olson said.

Times Staff Writer Eric Young contributed to this story.

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