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Arkansas Man Suspected of Sexually Assaulting More Than 30 Minors

An Arkansas man charged with the attempted kidnapping and sexually assault of a teenage girl has been connected to at least 30 other victims, police said Tuesday in a case that they characterized as "shocking."

Julian Gambou Rivera, 20, of Springdale, near Fayetteville, faces 15 felony charges after he was arrested in February in the attempted kidnapping and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl as she walked home after school, Springdale police said. Police said he could face as many as 20 more counts after detectives were able to identify more than 30 other alleged victims, all ages 4 to 13.

Police called the attacks "shocking" and "horrific crimes," characterizing Rivera as a "textbook predator."

He was being held in the Washington County jail on $150,000 bond pending a hearing April 22 on a single count of attempted kidnapping; two counts apiece of engaging children in sexual explicit conduct, possessing images depicting sexual involvement with children, second-degree sexual assault and harassment; and three counts of sexual indecency with a child.

Rivera was arrested Feb. 25 after a 13-year-old girl reported that a man began following her after she got off her school bus the day before. She told officers that the man grabbed her, put her in a choke hold and touched her inappropriately and that she believed he was trying to get her into a private alleyway or his car. Police said she identified Rivera in a photo lineup.

IMAGE: Julian Gambou Rivera
Julian Gambou Rivera is charged with 15 felony counts in connection with sexual assaults on 30 or more girls in the Springdale, Arkansas, area. Springdale, Arkansas, Police Department