A man has been charged with multiple sexual assault counts after targeting underage girls in Heber City.
21-year-old Joaquin Lopez was booked into Wasatch County Jail Tuesday. He was arrested after allegedly posing as a 16-year-old and sexually assaulting multiple 13 and 14-year-old girls.
At least five young teenagers told police they engaged in sexual activity or were forced to engage in activity with Lopez.
It wasn’t until someone recognized Lopez - and confirmed he’s five years older - that one of the victims reported him through SafeUT, a crisis and tip line. In the affidavit, police noted Lopez’s small stature and said he “looked like he could be 16.”
The suspect was taken into custody by the Park City Police and Summit County Sheriff’s Office, and transported to Wasatch County Sheriff. Lopez denied the allegations. He claims he was drugged by a victim’s mother and then the victim took advantage of him. He also claims he's the victim of extortion.
After an interview with police, Lopez was arrested and charged with 31 felony counts, including 26 counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a third degree felony; two counts of child rape, a first degree felony; two counts of aggravated sexual assualt of a child, a first degree felony; and one count of child kidnapping, also a first degree felony.
The sheriff’s office believes Lopez is a “danger to the youth of any community he lives in.” He is being held without bail.