California babysitter who advertised online charged with abuse
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A teenager who advertised babysitting services over the Internet and was believed to have "conversed" with scores of parents has been jailed on charges of sexually abusing two boys of a Los Angeles-area client, police said on Tuesday.
Jordan Liu, 19, was arrested after one of the boys told his mother about being molested during a discussion she was having with her him about the Penn State University sex abuse scandal, police in suburban Glendale said.
Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period in an investigation that led to the dismissal of the university president and the school's legendary football coach, Joe Paterno.
Two other university officials face perjury charges in connection with the case.
The mother whose 8-year-old boy Liu was accused of molesting told police she read her son a news article about Penn State, hoping she was "providing education and awareness".
"She tried to use that as a tool, to try to break the ice," Glendale Police Sergeant Tom Lorenz told Reuters. "And as she's reading it, and explaining what these things were to the child ... the child broke down and told the mom, 'The babysitter has been doing some of those things to me.'"
Lorenz said the family had scheduled to have Liu come over that evening, adding, "They canceled that, obviously, and contacted the police department instead."
Lorenz said investigators corroborated the 8-year-old's account of abuse, as well as allegations of sexual assault on his 3-year-old brother.
"The investigation is just starting to go beyond these victims," he said.
Liu had been babysitting for the family for eight months, taking the 8-year-old boy on outings at least once a month during that time. The family first became acquainted with Liu through an online baby-sitter referral service, Lorenz said.
He said the investigation found that Liu may have conversed with more than 100 parents via the Internet, but it was unknown how many hired him as a babysitter.
"We don't have any information to lead us to believe there may have been other victims," Lorenz said, adding that police were hoping Liu was arrested before others were victimized.
"If there are other victims, we'd like to make sure they get the help and counseling they need," the sergeant said.
Liu pleaded not guilty on Monday to eight felony counts of sexual misconduct, including sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, unlawful touching and performing lewd acts on a child, Lorenz said.
The suspect, who described himself at his booking as a photographer, remains in custody in lieu of $2.7 million bail.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)