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Chef Arrested in Computer Sex Case

May 10, 2000|TINA DIRMANN

An Oxnard man has been charged in connection with an alleged sexual relationship he had with two teenage girls he met through an Internet chat room.

Robert Rodriguez Garcia, 43, is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail in Ventura County Jail after pleading not guilty to 18 counts, including intercourse with a minor and oral copulation with a minor, authorities said.

Garcia, former executive chef at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort, met the first girl, a 14-year-old, while chatting online in August, Sheriff's Det. Alberto Miramontes said. The pair exchanged numbers and agreed to meet at the girl's grandparents' home in Thousand Oaks, where they reportedly had sex.

Authorities said the girl saw Garcia again in January at a hotel in Thousand Oaks. A 16-year-old friend accompanied her, police said, and all three had intercourse.

In March, the 16-year-old told her parents about the encounter and they called police, Miramontes said.

Detectives served a search warrant last month on Garcia's Oxnard home, where they confiscated his computer. He was taken into custody April 19 and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing May 23.

Miramontes said the case should serve as a warning to parents that they have to be diligent about monitoring their children on the computer.

"The days of thinking your kids are safe because they are not on the streets is gone," he said. "If [parents] are not watching their online communications, then they have no idea what their kids have access to. It just opens up the child pornography and sex lines to anybody."

Authorities suspect that there may be other victims in the case and ask anyone with information to contact Miramontes at 494-8229.

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