Repeat sex offender arrested again for Fresno State incident

Fresno State Police say they have arrested 49-year-old Fidel Tafoya, a repeat sex offender.
October 8, 2013 5:21:18 PM PDT
Fresno State Police say they have arrested 49-year-old Fidel Tafoya, a repeat sex offender. He's accused of inappropriately touching a female student on the Fresno State Campus Monday. Police say they found Tafoya in Downtown Fresno around 7:30 Tuesday.

This is the 10th time Tafoya's been arrested for crimes either committed here or another campus. He's been in and out of custody for the past two decades.

Tafoya is also no stranger to the Fresno State campus and that's disturbing news for students enrolled in night classes. "It's pretty scary, I mean, now you're not really secure in walking down here," said freshman Jacqulin Hernandez. "Not expecting things like this to happen."

"I try my best not to be alone, either walking with my classmates or my roommates," said Fresno State graduate student Jovana Lopez.

Fresno State police say Tafoya, a parolee as part of the state's prison realignment mandate, cut off his GPS ankle monitor just an hour before he marched into the Madden Library and inappropriately touched a student working in a public area.

"A few words were exchanged by him and her, and he immediately left the library after committing this crime," said Fresno State Police Chief David Huerta. "The matter was caught and recorded by the library camera system."

Crime alert fliers popped up on campus Tuesday morning. And this isn't the first time Tafoya's face has been shown this way. The victim, police say, identified her attacker because of previous crime alerts.

"Mr. Tafoya has been contacted at Fresno State several times. In fact, the parole he is on is as a result of crimes he committed here," Huerta said.

Tafoya's past convictions have never locked him up for more than three years.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno says he's tried to close a loophole in the state's prison overcrowding solution that does not lock up sex offenders for violations like cutting off electronic tracking devices.

"If AB 63 had been passed, Tafoya would have cut off that monitor the first time and would have been sent back to state prison as a felony," Patterson said. "That would have kept him locked up. He would not have been out on the street to go to Fresno State and do it again."

Patterson says he will reintroduce that bill when state legislators return to session in January.

In the meantime, Fresno State police say you should follow the usual safety advice and never walk alone at night and always be aware of what or who is around you.


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