Corona man who once drove to Arizona to have sex with “teen” charged with having sex with sexually trafficked minor in Hemet
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — Authorities say a Riverside County man was arrested earlier this month after allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a minor who was being sexually trafficked in Hemet. Based on the initial information gathered by the Hemet Police Department, the case was turned over to the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT), for further investigation of possible sex trafficking of a minor.
“During the course of the investigation, investigators found the minor was being sexually exploited for money via social media/internet,” Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Robert Menchaca has since said of the investigation; adding, “One of the men having sexual contact with the minor was identified as Steven Michael Rawley, 35, of Corona.”
Rawley’s booking charges indicate that his sexually trafficked victim was younger than 14.
As part of their investigation, RCAHT learned Rawley had been caught up in a December 2018 undercover sting set up by Arizona Predator Prevention (APP), a citizen watchdog group. During that incident, which was captured on video and can be viewed below or on YouTube, Rawley reportedly drove more than 300 miles from his Corona residence to Mohave County, Arizona, to meet with a person he believed was a 15-year-old girl.
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RCAHT members began investigating Rawley in December 2020 after receiving a referral from the Hemet Police Department regarding the possible sex trafficking of a minor, Menchaca has since said of the investigation that ultimately led to Rawley’s arrest.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Murphy today told RCNS that as their investigation continued, RCAHT learned of the 2018 undercover citizen sting operation conducted by APP and discovered that Rawley had attempted to arrange to meet and have sex with a person he believed was a 15-year-old, Mohave County, Arizona, girl.
Officials say Steven Rawley, who was caught up in a 2018 citizen sting after allegedly driving from Riverside County to Mohave County, Arizona to have sex with a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl, was arrested earlier this month on several new and unrelated child-related sex crimes. RSO booking photo
According to APP, despite the decoy repeatedly mentioning that she was only 15-years-old, Rawley still arranged to meet with her for sex. He then reportedly drove from his Riverside County residence to Mohave County, Arizona to meet with and engage in the sexual activity he had spoken about with the “minor”.
To his surprise, when Rawley showed up at the pre-arranged meeting place he had agreed upon with the “minor”, he discovered he had actually been corresponding with an undercover decoy working with APP.
Video filmed at the meeting place and later shared on social media showed that once confronted by APP and asked why he thought it was ok to meet with a 15-year-old girl for sex, Rawley appears to be heard mumbling, “Well honestly, I don’t know. Just boredom, I guess.”
Rawley then began arguing with APP members, claiming he had been entrapped by the organization and that he had not driven across state lines to engage in sex with the person he thought was a teen. He then left the scene in his vehicle.
APP later provided RCAHT members with copies of Rawley’s chat correspondence with the person he believed was a teen, along with the video of the sting operation where they confronted him.
“Even after being informed several times that ‘she’ was 15, Rawley set up a meeting for sex,” Menchaca said of the 2018 incident.
Based on their investigation, on Tuesday, Feb. 2, RCAHT Task Force members served a search warrant for Rawley’s apartment on Ridgeline Drive in Corona along with his vehicle.
“The search warrant resulted in the seizure of numerous electronic devices and Rawley’s arrest,” said Menchaca.
According to the Sergeant, Rawley was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of contacting a minor with intent to commit kidnapping or sex offenses, arranging a meeting with a minor to commit a sex offense, and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor over 3 years younger than the perpetrator, all felonies.
Online jail records indicate Rawley was released the day after his arrest after posting $75,000 bail or bond and he is scheduled to be arraigned at Riverside Hall Of Justice on June 4.
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After Rawley arrest, APP’s Founder, Sabrina Ajack – a survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself – told RCNS, “I often wonder if people like him care how much they can ruin a child’s life.”
About APP, which she formed with her husband, Stephen Ajack in 2018, Sabrina explained, “We’re dedicated to exposing potential and suspected child abusers and making our community safer by making sure parents know who to keep their children away from.”
“Our mission is to protect the innocence of our children, by exposing one child predator at a time,” Sabrina continued.
“Unfortunately these sexual predators are way more interested in intercourse and … not even thinking about the minor that’s being hurt,” Sabrina said; adding, “We realize the trauma that follows for a child after being violated by an adult and as parents, we believe that a child should never be abused.”
The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has reason to believe there are additional victims in Riverside County, California and in Mohave County, Arizona, and is asking that anyone who was or believes they were victimized by Rawley to contact RCAHT – Deputy Mario Chavez at (951) 422-1141 or (951) 955-1700. Callers can refer to incident file number R203250003 and can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.