Damn, Moxley takes a vacation day and major developments happen with his stories. First, it was the Andy Tran death-by-cop case settlement. Then it was the Judge Scott Steiner sex-with-law-school student probe. Now comes a creep Moxley wrote up getting convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy lured into a library bathroom.
Robert Howard Claudio, 24, of Anaheim Hills, now faces up to 15 years to life in state prison at his scheduled Nov. 8 sentencing.
The boy was waiting for his mother to pick him up from the Teen Room in a county public library at 345 E. Main St., Tustin, the afternoon of March 9, 2012, when Claudio approached and explained he was studying to be a social worker and was used to talking to younger boys. Claudio then lured the boy into a library men's room, where the adult sodomized the child.
The boy managed to escape and run to the Tustin Police Department around the corner, where he immediately reported the assault. Simultaneously, Claudio stopped a passing cop and said the boy had solicited him for sex. It didn't work: Claudio was arrested immediately.
As Moxley reported, Claudio was a registered sex offender, but he was not listed in the state's Megan's Law database because his prior conviction came before he was an adult. The database does not include crimes committed by juveniles.
A jury Thursday found Claudio guilty of one felony count of kidnapping for child molesting, four felony counts of lewd acts with a minor under 14, and sentencing enhancement allegations for substantial sexual conduct with a child and increasing the risk of harm by kidnapping.
Fred McBride, Claudio's attorney, had contested the kidnapping allegation as the conviction on that count makes his client eligible for a possible life sentence.
Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffmann reportedly told City News Service Claudio was also charged last year with trying to sexually assault an 18-year-old man at John Wayne Airport on Aug. 27, 2011.
That case, which was not part of the current trial because the victim has not been cooperative with investigators, is still under investigation and could lead to more charges against Claudio, according to Hoffmann.
Claudio allegedly followed the 18-year-old, who is from the East Coast, into an airport restroom and bathroom stall, where he tried to pull down the teen's underwear and asked for oral and anal sex as the victim tried to get away, Hoffmann reportedly said.
Besides a long prison stretch, Claudio will likely be branded a sex offender for life at his looming sentencing in Santa Ana. That will keep him out of Orange County parks where Child Safety Zones have been enacted but hopefully in the Megan's Law database this time.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.