SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 53-year-old man has been charged with multiple felonies for randomly sexually assaulting three young girls in public places in the city of Irvine, including exposing himself to a 9-year-old girl in a library while forcing her to read cue cards with disturbing phrases while he masturbated in front of her.
Christopher Eduard, 53, of Los Angeles, has been charged with two felony counts of false imprisonment, two felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, one felony count of a forcible lewd act on a child, one felony count of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a specified offense, and one felony count of possession of child pornography. He is also charged with one misdemeanor count of sexual exploitation of a child, one misdemeanor count of using a minor in production of pornography, and one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure.
He faces a maximum exposure of 25 years to life plus five years state prison and three years in the Orange County Jail.
On March 21, 2023, Eduard is accused of asking a 9-year-old girl looking at children’s books in the Heritage Park Regional Library in Irvine to help him film a video. The girl agreed, and Eduard is accused of having the girl film him while instructing her to do and say things for the video through cue cards he held for her. At one point, Eduard is accused of pulling his pants down to expose his genitals and masturbating in front of the girl and forcing her to touch him. The girl managed to pull away from him and run back to her mother after another child entered the children’s book section.
On March 24, 2023, Irvine police arrested Eduard as the suspect in the library child molestation and he was booked into the Orange County Jail. The charges he initially was arrested on had a statutory bail of $100,00, but Irvine police requested no bail given the egregiousness of the brazen sexual assault of a child in a public place. Detectives were not allowed to make their case for increased bail in front of a judge. Bail was set at $500,000.
Eduard posted $500,000 bond before his initial court appearance and was given a future arraignment date to return to court. Because he did not appear in front of a judge before posting bond, prosecutors did not have the ability to argue for an increased bail in addition to the online submission by detectives.
In the days following Eduard’s release, Irvine Police detectives linked Eduard to two additional unsolved child molestation crimes from 2021 at two different Target stores in the city of Irvine.
On March 28, 2023, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office reviewed and approved Irvine Police detectives’ no bail warrant for the two unsolved 2021 child molestations. Detectives submitted the warrant to a commissioner who signed the no bail warrant. Eduard was rearrested and held without bail at the Orange County Jail until his in-custody arraignment on March 30, 2023.
At his arraignment, prosecutors argued that Eduard should continue to be held on no bail given his imminent flight risk and the serious danger to the public. Again, a judge agreed and ordered Eduard be held at the Orange County Jail without bail.
The charges filed against Eduard include the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl at a Target store on Jamboree Road in the City of Irvine. On May 24, 2021, Eduard is accused of grabbing the girl who was alone in a toy aisle of the store, rubbing the girl’s vagina over her clothes and asking her if it felt good. The girl managed to break away from the man and run back to her mother and siblings. The suspect remained unidentified.
On June 2, 2021, Irvine police received a report of a similar child molestation at a Target store on Barranca Parkway in the city of Irvine. The mother of a 9-year-old girl reported that in March or April of 2021, a man grabbed her daughter’s buttocks while she was alone in a toy aisle of the store and took pictures of the young girl. The family reported the incident to police after reading the police department’s news release regarding the May 2021 sexual assault on a young girl in an Irvine Target.
Eduard is scheduled to return to court on April 10, 2023 at the Harbor Justice Center in Department H1 for a pretrial hearing and bail review.
“High-risk sex offenders are the most dangerous kind of criminal and the most likely to re-offend. The kind of person who would prey on innocent children looking at library books or toys and sexually assault them should not be allowed to be out on bail to be able to prey on more children,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The criminal justice system exists to protect the public and punish offenders. It is ludicrous that the Orange County Superior Court would abdicate its responsibility to protect the public by forcing police officers to fill out an online form to argue why a dangerous pedophile must be kept behind bars instead of being able to present the facts to a magistrate tasked with making those kinds of weighty decisions. It is blatantly obvious that this individual is a serious danger to the public and he should have never been let out in the first place.”
Deputy District Attorney Raquel Cooper of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.