Why the delay in the arrest of man accused of child sex abuse?
GRESHAM, Ore. - A 20-year-old man who police say confessed to molesting a boy he met in a park wasn't arrested right away.
Richard James Ascoli was arrested Tuesday after police say he sexually abused a 7- or 8-year-old boy in Rockwood Central Park at Southeast 176th Avenue and Yamhill Street. They also say he also abused an 8-year-old boy.
Police didn't immediately take Ascoli off the street after he admitted the first crime that allegedly occurred June 10.
According to a sergeant with the Multnomah County Child Abuse Team, the delay was because the first victim wasn't available to interview right away. Without that interview done by specially trained investigators, there would not have been enough evidence to make a case stick against Ascoli. A person can't be prosecuted on a confession alone.
Ascoli lives down the street from the park.
Three neighbors say they saw Ascoli offering an 8-year-old boy ice cream and let the boy play with his basketball and dog.
When Ascoli disappeared from the park, the neighbors went to his house and say they found the boy with Ascoli.
"He has issues. He totally admitted it," said Cody Smith. "But it seemed like it wasn't that big a deal. He brushed it off. Like, 'OK, I won't do it again,' type of thing."
Jay Grandy said: "He knew right from wrong, and I could see the look on this face - he was guilty all over his face."
Police say it was a neighbor who caught Ascoli with the boy June 10. It took three days for police to figure out who Ascoli was and interview him. That's when police say he confessed to molesting the first boy during two different encounters - once in the bushes and once in the park bathroom.
Police say they believe there may be other victims but haven't said whether more victims have come forward.
The three neighbors who spoke to KATU News on Thursday say there have been rumors about Ascoli acting inappropriately with boys going back two years.