ESCONDIDO–Escondido police detectives arrested a 46 year-old Oceanside resident and charged him with several felony charges related to his online communication with a 16 year-old female.
Rennard Cawkwell, a registered sex offender, was released from parole in late March, and his GPS monitor removed. The very next day after being released from parole, Cawkwell arrived at his victim’s residence, according to authorities.
Family members of the victim and an alert neighbor prevented Cawkwell’s efforts to further victimize the female. The incidents were reported to the Escondido Police Department.
Escondido Police Detective Jeff Udvarhelyi, who is part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (ICAC), which specifically work to arrest those who use the internet to prey upon children, began an investigation into the events.
Recognizing that Cawkwell was aggressively seeking underage girls, Detective Udvarhelyi devoted countless hours to quickly, and thoroughly, completing a highly complex investigation. His tenacity paid off late Monday evening when a search warrant was served on Cawkwell’s Oceanside home and Cawkwell was taken into custody.
Authorities say the 16 year-old victim believed that she was communicating online with a 17 year-old male. What the victim did not know was that the “17 year old” that she was communicating with was actually a registered sex offender on active GPS monitored parole. During the time that Cawkwell was posing as a 17 year-old he engaged the victim in sexually explicit conversations.
Cawkwell was charged with meeting with a minor for sex, sending harmful manner to a minor, online sexual enticement of a minor, annoy/molest minor with a prior offense, and possession of child pornography.
Cawkwell’s aggressive behavior and status as a registered sex offender demonstrate that he posed an immediate threat to young girls, according to authorities.
“I am proud of the work that was put into this particular case. This case highlights the dedication that members of the Escondido Police Department have in protecting the community. It also highlights the dangers that lurk on the internet,” Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter said. “We urge parents to have conversations with their children and teens on the dangers of online communications. Sadly, Rennard Cawkwell is not the only person posing as something that he is not for the purposes of targeting children.”
Parents can visit Internet Crimes Against Children website for more information and resources available to keep children safe while online. www.icactaskforce.org