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News Release

Monday, February 11, 2008

Media Relations

Internet Prowler Arrested for Sex with a Minor

Los Angeles: Los Angeles detectives arrested an accountant from Camarillo after hotel security and firefighters discovered a drunk 15-year-old boy in the man’s downtown hotel suite Saturday night. The man and the boy met on Craigslist. Detectives have released the man’s photograph, seeking other victims.

“This man drove all the way from Camarillo to East Los Angeles to meet a young boy he merely knew from the internet,” said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, head of LAPD Central Detective Division. “Willing or not, children under 18 years old cannot give consent for sexual relations. This is a very serious crime.”

Late Saturday night, a couple at the Bonaventure Hotel downtown, complained to security because of noise in the adjoining room. Security investigated and asked the tenants to quiet down. The registered guest, Richard Willrodt, 48, was in the company of a younger man, and promised to keep the noise down. A short time later, security responded again, as did the fire department, after Willrodt’s companion had passed out from apparent alcohol consumption.

“Once inside the room, paramedics realized the young man was under age and they called for police,” Vernon said.

Police officers detained Willrodt and took him to the police station. Following questioning, detectives arrested Willrodt for Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor, a very serious felony crime. His bail was set at $20,000.

Detectives seized Willrodt’s laptop computer in the room as well as other items that showed his intent for sexual relations.

The boy was examined at a local hospital and released to his guardian.

“This case should be a loud wake-up call to parents to monitor and limit their children’s activity on the internet,” Vernon added. “We are releasing Willrodt’s photograph in the event he may have contacted other children in similar rendezvous.

Anyone with information related to this case should call Detective Thayer Lake at 213-972-1226, or call the LAPD Hotline any time at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).