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PBSO: 12-year-old girl victimized by 34-year-old man accused of human trafficking

Posted at 4:25 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 17:44:46-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A 34-year-old Lantana man is facing multiple felony charges after deputies say he sexually victimized a 12-year-old girl.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Social Media Unit received a Human Trafficking Trip on April 19, 2017 through the PBSO Facebook page.

The tip contained several screenshots of a conversation on the social media phone application called "Tango".

According to the arrest report, the tip read: "Please pay attention to your children's social media. Theres [sic] is a guy who has been trying to get with my daughter on Tango. Not only was he trying to get with my daughter he has also insinuated that she should prostitute her friends. His name is A/X on Tango and he seems very predatory.... Please share this..Please help us"

A detective with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Human Trafficking Task Force identified the victim on May 2, 2017. She is a 12-year-old girl who attends a local middle school.

PBSO obtained a transcript of text messages between the suspect and the victim that occurred over a period between March 23 and April 19, 2017.

Three days into their text conversation, PBSO says the suspect A/X is asking the victim to run away with him to be his wife and asking intimate details about her sexuality.

During their text conversation, the victim claims she is 13 years old (she was actually 12), while "A/X" claimed he was 23 years old (he is actually 34).

According to the arrest report, at one point in their conversation the suspect solicits the victim to become a prostitute and to recruit several of her female friends for prostitution.

PBSO says there were two occasions where the suspect picked up the victim and her two-year-old sister, dropped the younger sister off at a baby sitter's house, drove to a discreet location, committed sex acts on the victim, then dropped her off at middle school.

According to the transcript of their conversation, the suspect visited a restaurant and tried to convince her to go there and watched her from the parking lot while she was with her family.

PBSO says on April 19, 2017 the victim's mother confronted the suspect on a text message and all communications stopped.

The victim was interviewed at the Child Protection Team (CPT) of the Palm Beaches on May 8, 2017.

During the interview, PBSO says the victim divulged that a Hispanic male friended her on the "Tango" app. According to the arrest report, the victim said he asked her questions like if she was a virgin, if she had friends that would have sex for money, and asked her to send nude photographs of herself, which she refused to do.

The victim divulged on another occasion that she was practicing for track tryouts in the parking lot of her residence. According to the arrest report, the suspect started texting her that he was nearby and wanted her to come over. She told him she could not come to see him because her family was in the parking lot with her. She told CPT this made her feel weird that he was watching her. She advised that she "kinda has feelings for him" but she is scared of him because "something happened in his car" and is afraid he might hurt her.

The State Attorney's Office issued a subpoena for subscriber information to Tango and detectives were able to learn that the suspect screen name "A/X" is associated with 34-year-old Joel Bautista Trinidad of Lantana.

PBSO says the victim confirmed that photos on the public Facebook account for "Joel Bautista" is the same male who picked her up in his car.

Deputies arrested Trinidad, who is now facing multiple felony charges including: Human Trafficking, Sexual Battery on a victim 12 or older, but less than 18, Lewd and Lascivious Molestation, Aggravated Stalking a victim under age 16, and two counts of Kidnapping.