SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Police Department’s Child Abuse Unit arrested 22-year-old Zayne St. Julien of Poway in connection with a series of child molestation cases and investigators are now looking for additional victims, police said Wednesday.
The incidents happened between July and December 2022 and involved three unrelated boys who at the time were seven, eight, and 11-years old, according to the San Diego Police Department.
"This person is someone who should be trusted. You’re hiring someone to take care of your child," said Lt. Carmelin Rivera, San Diego Police Department.
According to police, in each case, the boys’ parents hired St. Julien. St. Julien was part of an online platform called Sittercity, which connects babysitters with families seeking child care.
One of the parents reported the molestation of her child to authorities in November, SDPD said.
Detectives immediately began to investigate and with the assistance of Sittercity personnel, two other boys were identified as victims. Police say their parents reported their children’s molestations to detectives in December.
St. Julien reportedly committed each molestation in the boys’ homes, according to SDPD.
"These incidents occurred in the actual homes of these boys, there’s no particular community that was targeted, they were from all over the city - these cases, potentially all over the county," added Lt. Rivera.
On Dec. 20, SDPD and the San Diego Harbor Police Department arrested St. Julien as he was getting off an airplane at San Diego International Airport. He was booked into San Diego County Jail on several child molestation charges.
He is currently being held on $1.2 million bond, and is scheduled to be arraigned on five child molestation charges on Thursday afternoon.
Police are asking anyone with information regarding these incidents, or believes St. Julien may have targeted other victims, to call the San Diego Police Department Child Abuse Unit at (619) 531-2260 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
In a statement to CBS 8, a spokesperson for Sittercity explained that St. Julien passed nearly a dozen background checks, adding that "news like this is heartbreaking."
"Mr. St. Julien had been active on the Sittercity platform since June 2019, and prior to this incident, Sittercity never received any complaints about him. Since joining Sittercity, 11 background checks were completed on him with none identifying any criminal history.," said Christine Reimert of Sittercity.
"Upon receiving a complaint about Mr. St. Julien, we immediately contacted the police, terminated him from the platform, and notified any family with whom he had ever communicated," she added.
Reimert also clarified that the caregivers on Sittercity are not employees of the company. Sittercity is an online platform where caregivers and families connect.
St. Julien is due in court on Thursday.
Here is the complete statement from Sittercity:
Sittercity was founded on the commitment to provide a safe, trusted platform where families select and hire local caregivers. As a company of moms and dads, ourselves, news like this is heartbreaking. While Sittercity does not employ or recommend caregivers, we actively leverage tools and resources to screen and monitor caregivers, including identity authentication, sex offender registry checks and background checks, among other proactive safeguards both at registration and while active on the platform.
Mr. St. Julien had been active on the Sittercity platform since June 2019, and prior to this incident, Sittercity never received any complaints about him. Since joining Sittercity, 11 background checks were completed on him with none identifying any criminal history. Upon receiving a complaint about Mr. St. Julien, we immediately contacted the police, terminated him from the platform, and notified any family with whom he had ever communicated.
As an industry leader, Sittercity works closely with law enforcement, policy makers and industry peers to advance safeguards and the most up-to-date safety and security measures that will enhance the ability of families to make the most informed decisions when choosing care providers.
Specifically five of the background checks were enhanced criminal checks and six of the background checks were basic criminal checks. You can learn more about each background check here: https://www.sittercity.com/background-checks/whats-covered
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