Detectives Searching for More Molestation Victims

March 15, 2006

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department detectives traced a former Los Angeles game store owner to a small town in Oregon, and had him arrested on a warrant related to child molestation going back to the early 1990s in Los Angeles.

David Esser, 58, was arrested by Cottage Grove, Oregon, police officers after they served a search warrant on his game store business, Gym for the Mind, on March 7, 2006.

Last July, a 21-year-old man accused Esser of molesting him over a period of five years, beginning in 1995, when the victim was just 11 years old. The victim first met Esser in 1993, when he started patronizing Esser’s business, located at 4907 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, also named Gym for the Mind. According to the victim, Esser confided that he had molested other boys.

Vernon. “It catered to children’s games and popular trading cards, like Pokemon. It"Esser’s business was a magnet for children," said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul was a perfect lure for young boys."

Detectives searched for other crime reports naming Esser, and found one dating back to 2003, when an 18-year-old victim accused Esser of molesting him soon after they met in late 2000, when the victim was 15 years old. The molestation continued until March 2001, when the victim stopped going to the store. This victim suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder similar to autism.

After March 2001, Esser relocated his business, under the same name, to 348 North Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. Sometime later, Esser moved to Oregon. Until this arrest, Esser had no prior criminal history. He is awaiting extradition to California. When he returns, he will face three felony counts related to Lewd and Lascivious Act Against Children, which were filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

Most of any unknown victims from Esser’s days in Los Angeles will now be young adults. Detectives are encouraging them or their parents to come forward with any information that could aid in this case. Persons with information may call Detective Ninette Toosbuy at 818-778-4729. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

A photograph of Esser is available from Media Relations, upon request. A photograph of Esser’s former Vermont Avenue Gym for the Mind is also available.