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Ventura County

Man on Sex Crime Probation Arrested

July 21, 2002|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT and JESSICA BLANCHARD | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A 22-year-old convicted sex offender has been arrested on suspicion of violating his probation for allegedly posing as a teenager to enter the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura on Johnson Drive.

Michael Angel Hinojosa remained in Ventura County Jail on Saturday, where he was being held without bail since his arrest July 11, a jail employee said. He is slated to appear in court Aug. 15.

"He came as a guest of a girl who is a member," said club spokesman Matthew Guasco, a member of the club's board of directors. "[Staff members] said he was very youthful looking ... polite and quiet."

Hinojosa, according to court records, pleaded guilty last year to three felony counts of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14. The crimes occurred, according to records, in November 2000.

Hinojosa was sentenced to 360 days in jail and three years' probation and was ordered to register as a sex offender, court records show. He was released from custody earlier this year after serving about two-thirds of his term.

Guasco said Hinojosa came to the club with the girl an unknown number of times during a three- or four-week period that ended July 8. During each visit, Hinojosa lied about his age, Guasco said.

Club rules require members and guests who are not family members to be 19 years old or younger. Guests are not required to show picture identification, Guasco said.

Hinojosa attended practice sessions for a hip-hop dancing group, Guasco said. A staff member monitored each practice and reported no unusual behavior.

Guasco said a parent who came to pick up a child at the club recognized Hinojosa as a convicted felon and called police. Probation officers interviewed staff members and the girl who had been Hinojosa's host before arresting him.

Police said they were investigating whether Hinojosa committed any new crimes while at the club. So far, he was being held only on suspicion of violating his probation, which bars him from being in the presence of children without official approval.

Guasco said the club's directors will discuss the case at their meeting in September. "We have really stringent policies in place," Guasco said. "I'm comfortable with the attention and supervision and screening of people at the door."

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