GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — A 20-year-old man admitted performing sexual acts at a park with at least two children, according to Gresham Police.
Richard James Ascoli was arrested Tuesday. Gresham police report Ascoli is accused of sexually abusing a 6-year-old boy in Rockwood Central Park — on SE 176th Avenue and Yamhill Street in Gresham — and an 8-year-old boy “on multiple occasions in 2012 and 2013,” according to GPD.
“Neither victim is related to Ascoli,” the Gresham Police Department reported, “and investigators believe that Ascoli would befriend the children in the park before abusing them.”
KOIN 6 News has learned that it was a young woman’s actions that put this suspected child sex molester behind bars. She saw something happening in her local park, and she did something about it.
Sarah Sabin, 18, hopes what she did makes her neighborhood safer.
“I’ve seen him around the park,” she said. “I know where he lives.”
She first heard about 20-year-old Richard Ascoli, who has Autistm, trying to take down a little boy’s pants in her neighbor’s backyard..
“I had confronted him,” Sabin said, “and told him not to do that.”
Then she saw Ascoli take a little boy into his house. She said she knew it wasn’t right, and confronted him again — asking him why he was hanging out with young boys.
“He said he didn’t have anyone else to hang out with,” Sabin said. “And we asked him why he was doing sexual things with little boys, and he said that the little boy started it.”
Sabin told a few older adults, who then contacted police. Gresham police arrested Ascoli Tuesday.
Court documents show he admitted to performing sex acts on at least two children, both boys.
“Little kids are pure and innocent, and they don’t know what they’re doing,” Sabin told KOIN 6 News. “That boy did know what he was doing, so it just shocked me a lot.”
Investigators are worried there may be more victims.
Anyone with information about these cases or additional victims can contact Gresham Detective Mike Malanaphy at 503.823.0278 or Mike.Malanaphy@PortlandOregon.gov.