Monday, June 14, 2010

Surveillance Video on Bus Captures Molestor

Laguna Beach - A 48-year-old man who allegedly molested a teenage girl on a bus in Laguna Beach was in custody today, and authorities called for other possible victims to come forward.

James Norkin was detained by his parole officer on Wednesday for failure to register as a sex offender, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The parole officer saw news reports about the search for the bus molester and contacted sheriff's detectives, said department spokesman Jim Amormino.

Norkin, who was being tracked with a GPS device, was called to his parole officer's Costa Mesa office on Wednesday because he wasn't where he said he was, Amormino said.

He was taken directly to the state prison in Chino, where deputies today confirmed he was their suspect in the Sunday afternoon groping incident on an Orange County Transportation Authority bus in Laguna Beach, Amormino said.

The alleged victim got on the bus with two other girls younger than 15, and as they rode to Laguna Niguel, Norkin sat down next to them about 3 p.m. and allegedly touched one of the girls in a sexual manner, Amormino said.

The girl was so frightened she did not move, but one of her friends saw what was happening and yelled at the man to stop, Amormino said.

Norkin, who got off the bus at the Laguna Hills Mall stop, has a prior record of indecent exposure, Amormino said.

He said anyone else who may have been molested by Norkin should call the sheriff's department at (866) TIP-OCSD.

Amormino said OCTA buses "are extremely safe. It's a rarity this happened on the bus."

He credited the agency's surveillance system for helping to catch the suspect.

"They have one of the best surveillance systems I've ever seen," Amormino said. "We have several angles, and the sound is good. This dangerous predator is off the street, and this is a good example of law enforcement and the media working together."

OCTA officials praised the sheriff's deputies and reassured riders that the buses are safe.

"There is no greater responsibility than providing for passenger security and we take pride in the fact that crime is extremely rare on our transit system," OCTA Chairman Jerry Amante said.

Last year, 57 million people rode the bus nearly 19 million miles, and only 11 serious crimes were reported, on the buses, which is about one crime per 5.2 million boardings, agency officials said.