A Fresno man was arrested for allegedly using social media to target women for sexual assault.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to identify potential sexual assault victims or witnesses who may have had contact with the man, Cesar Eduardo Chavez, 26.
Tony Botti, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said Chavez was booked into Fresno County Jail facing felony charges of kidnapping, assault likely to cause great bodily injury, attempted rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object and robbery. Chavez is also facing misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment. His bail is set at $150,000.
The sheriff’s office received two separate reports where Chavez was identified as the suspect.
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Botti provided the following information about each incident:
The first occurred Sept. 14. Chavez contacted a young woman through social media, asking her to go out to a movie. She agreed and he picked her up in a compact silver car. After leaving the theater, Chavez began to drive to a rural part of Fresno County. Not sure where they were going, the woman asked to be taken home, but Chavez refused.
Once parked, Chavez forced himself on the woman, asking her to have sex. She told him no, but he continued to be aggressive and would not let her leave the car. She eventually fought him off, got out of the car and ran away. Chavez drove off with the woman’s wallet and phone still in the car. The woman walked to a gas station and made a 911 call to the sheriff’s office.
Chavez arranged to meet another young woman on Oct. 1 using social media. Chavez picked her up and the two went to a retail store and then a fast food restaurant. After eating, Chavez began to drive to a rural part of Fresno County. The woman became worried where he was taking her so she asked to go home, but Chavez refused. He parked his car and demanded a kiss from the woman. She resisted as he forced his way onto her.
She finally fought him off her, unlocked the car and escaped. As she ran down the road for help, Chavez sped toward her, nearly hitting her with his car. She was able to jump into some bushes for safety. As she hid, she dialed 911 and contacted the sheriff’s office. Chavez left the area once he heard police sirens drawing closer.
Deputies arrived, found the woman and took her report. She helped them identify Chavez as the suspect. Deputies determined where he lived and went to his home later that night and arrested him.
Chavez posted bond and bailed out of jail on Oct. 2, but as detectives reviewed previous reports, they noticed the Sept. 14 case was similar to the incident on Oct. 1. Detectives then recontacted Chavez on Oct. 2 and arrested him again on new charges, related to the September incident.
Both victims did not know Chavez personally. They only communicated with him through social media, where he goes by the names of Cesar and Eduardo.
Detectives believe Chavez may have targeted other women, but those women may not have reported the incidents to law enforcement. The sheriff’s office is not releasing a photo of Chavez at this time to “protect the integrity of our investigation.”