Santa Rosa police have arrested a man for sending lewd photos and vulgar texts to a 15-year-old girl last month, a police sergeant said. Police learned in late August that a man, later identified as Edel Cruz, sent the girl an unsolicited message on Facebook, Sgt. Terry Anderson said. The girl didn’t know Cruz but she replied and they had a non-offensive conversation during which he girl said she was 15 years old and Cruz said he was 21, Anderson said. The conversation ended when the girl said she had to stop messaging.
Cruz contacted the girl again later that afternoon and the two had a short conversation until the girl stopped responding, Anderson said. After Cruz sent the girl two lewd photos and several vulgar text messages that evening, police began investigating the incident, Anderson said. A detective posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with Cruz over several weeks. After a week of short messages, Cruz requested photos of the “girl” and sent lewd photos and messages, Anderson said.
Several of the messages instructed the “girl” how to perform sex acts and contained a link to a pornographic website, Anderson said. Cruz asked the “girl” to meet him to have sex, and he was arrested Friday at a pre-arranged meeting near Aston Avenue and Petaluma Hill Road, Anderson said. Cruz also is known as Faustino Edel Cruz-Melo, 25, of Santa Rosa, Anderson said. He was booked in the Sonoma County jail for sending harmful matter to a child and communicating with a minor for the purpose of exploitation, Anderson said. Cruz also had a tablet when he was arrested and police are analyzing it to determine if there are other victims, Anderson said.
“The victim in this case acted quickly and alerted her parents, who in turn reported it to the police department,” Anderson said. “Due to her disclosure, we were able to identify and arrest the suspect in a short time frame,” Anderson said. The incident illustrates the importance of parental monitoring of their children’s Internet use and talking to them about online safety, Anderson said. “Predators are out there and this case is an example of how they manipulate and exploit children,” Anderson said.
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