A 19-year-old Santa Clarita man was charged with 29 criminal counts alleging sex crimes against 14 girls between the ages of 12 and 16.
Michael Downs of Valencia was arraigned in San Fernando Superior Court Tuesday on the multiple felony counts, a court clerk told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
Following a female minor’s report of being sexually assaulted by the suspect earlier in December, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau began an investigation.
Detectives said they identified an additional 13 female teenage victims who were allegedly sexually assaulted by Downs.
Downs met the victims at social events, public places and on Facebook throughout 2011, according to a press release by the sheriff’s department. He allegedly gained his victims’ confidence by giving names of other teens he claimed he was friends with on Facebook.
“For over a week we have found new victims every day as we investigate these crimes,” Lt. Carlos Marquez of the Special Victims Bureau in the statement.
Downs was arrested Dec. 15 and was booked at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
He is being held in Los Angeles County jail on $1.8 million bail and is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 11 for his continued arraignment, the Signal reported.