By STEFAN MODRICH
Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton and the Richmond Police Department announced Nov. 19 the arrest and indictment of a Houston man on charges of indecency with a child by sexual contact and failure to comply with a sex offender’s duty to register.
Sergio David Chavarria, a Houston resident, was an employee at the Express Cuts hair salon on 712 South 11th St. in Richmond, the DA’s office said.
The investigation began in October and revealed that while working at the salon, Chavarria is alleged to have had sexual contact with a 13-year-old child who was a customer at the time, according to the DA’s office. Chavarria is a registered sex offender, according to Texas Department of Public Safety’s online database.
The DA’s office and Richmond PD suspect there may be other children who were victimized by Chavarria, according to the DA’s office. The DA’s office said in a news release it believes Chavarria had worked at Express Cuts since it opened approximately 10 years ago.
“Texas law requires all persons to report evidence of child abuse and immigration status should not be a barrier,” Craig Priesmeyer, the assistant district attorney and lead prosecutor on the case, said in a news release. “Protecting our children is the top priority and your immigration status is not at issue here.”
Indecency with a child by sexual contact is a second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Failure to comply with a sex offender’s duty to register is a third-degree felony with a punishment ranging from 2-10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Chavarria is currently being held at the Fort Bend County Jail on a $320,000 bond.
“We are requesting parents of children who have frequented Express Cuts to speak with their children to determine whether their children had any inappropriate contact with Sergio Chavarria,” Middleton in a news release. “Children who have been sexually abused often have delayed outcries or may be reluctant to talk about being sexually abused. And for those who are seeking to harm children in our county, know that local law enforcement will find you and stop you, and we will most certainly prosecute you.”
Investigators said they want to hear from anyone who may have taken their children to Express Cuts during that time frame, or if they have had any contact with Chavarria. While Chavarria worked in the Richmond area, his exposure and access to children could have occurred anywhere in Fort Bend County or elsewhere, the DA’s office said.
Anyone with information about Chavarria is encouraged to contact Richmond PD Detective Andrew Runge at (281) 342-2849 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or their local law enforcement agency.