Police arrest Vancouver man on alleged rape, commercial sex abuse charges

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Police arrested a Vancouver man Monday for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl last year after propositioning her through Facebook.

The Vancouver Police Department’s Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit served a search warrant Monday in the 200 block of Northeast 148th Avenue in the city’s Hearthwood neighborhood. Detectives collected evidence and arrested Juan Ramon Diaz Velazquez, 34, on suspicion of commercial sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree rape of a child.

The investigation into the alleged charges started in December of 2012 when a Clark County sheriff’s deputy went to Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital, where a 15-year-old rape victim had been admitted. She told the deputy she befriended a female on Facebook, who asked her online if she would like to get paid to have sex with men. The 15-year-old victim said she was interested and arranged with her new friend to meet someone at a Vancouver gas station.

That same day, the 15-year-old met Valazquez at the gas station, according to police. He picked her up in a pickup and drove to a liquor store, where he purchased some alcohol. He took her to the residence on Northeast 148th Avenue, gave her alcohol and had sex with her, according to police. Afterward, he allegedly drove the 15-year-old to a grocery store and left her there, intoxicated and alone.

Another rape investigation in September, led to detectives identifying Valazquez as the suspect. The Facebook profile used to arrange the December 2012 meeting with the 15-year-old was created by Valazquez. He originally set up the fake profile to spy on a girlfriend.