The Justice Files: Won’t get fooled again

Justice Files

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Christopher Padilla preyed on young girls. 

That’s what landed him in prison in 2017. It was the second time Padilla was convicted of a sex crime involving underage girls.

Now he’s facing another charge involving an underage female.

His troubles began in 2014. Padilla made plans with a 14-year-old girl in Bountiful.

He used a social app on his cellphone to meet the 14-year old, or so he thought.

They had met before and had sex in his pickup according to police. But this time Bountiful police were waiting for Padilla when he showed up at the agreed upon location. The teen’s mother tipped the police off.

“The mother found the information got it to police and gave us the victim’s cell phone immediately where we were able to see the victim was being texted by the suspect,” said Lt. Dave Edwards back in 2014.

Padilla was arrested, convicted, and served two months in jail. But a year later, Padilla again got on the internet and made contact with a 15-year-old. According to the charges, he pretended to be a girl himself and requested intimate photographs of his victim. Once he had the pictures he offered the teen $50,000 to have sex with him. She declined and he is accused of making the pictures available on the internet.

It landed him in prison and on Utah’s sex offender registry. In 2019 appeared at a parole hearing where he blamed it on his girlfriend.

“I wasn’t really into going after younger females,” said Padilla at his hearing.  “It was just kind of like she had other girls to mess around with so we were having three-some, four-some.”

Padilla was paroled after serving two years in prison. But prior to his release, he underwent sex offender treatment, was a model prisoner, and expressed remorse. He claimed to have changed his ways.

“I’m doing everything that I can to understand myself and understand the path that I’m trying to basically go towards in my life and where I want to be at,” he said. 

But this week, Padilla was arrested again for attempting to have sex with an underage girl.

According to the probable cause statement filed by police Padilla offered the girl hundreds and thousands of dollars for sex. He was aware the girl was 13-years old after she disclosed her age.

“I don’t want to know your age lol,” Padilla is accused of texting the teen who was working undercover for police.

He was arrested when the teen arranged to meet him at a certain location. The charges were enhanced to a first-degree crime.

“We not only believe he’s a flight risk but an ongoing risk to the community and therefore he ought to be detained for the full tendency of this trial,” said Sim Gill, Salt Lake’s district attorney.

The department of corrections also obliged with incarcerating Padilla. At the time of his most recent arrest, Padilla was on parole. The arrest violated conditions of his release and he’ll soon be transferred from the Salt Lake County jail to prison where he would have to finish his sentence for the 2016 offense.

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