Sex offender's appearance at North Fresno church has pastor requesting restraining order

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A sex offender who was released from jail after serving a sentence earlier this year-- has been spotted again.

Law enforcement officers are concerned he isn't there to find God but is instead looking for his next victim. His appearance at a North Fresno church now has the pastor requesting a restraining order.

Fidel Tafoya has been convicted of sexual battery many times. In May, he was sentenced to six months in jail for the misdemeanor charge of sexual battery for groping someone in the library at Fresno City College. He served three months and was released in July. He was also arrested for the same crime in the library at Fresno State.

Last month, Tafoya showed up at a young adult's service at the Well Community Church on Nees near Cedar. Someone immediately spotted him and called the police. Based on his long criminal past, his attendance at that particular service is concerning--according to ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi.

"He could be attending church on Sunday mornings or Saturdays or any day of the week- but if he's specifically going to youth events where college students are attending- he's in his 50's. It just doesn't fit the bill- something is wrong there," said Capozzi.

The request for a restraining order was submitted by the founding pastor of the Well Community Church, Brad Bell. Court records reveal Tafoya attended the college-age gathering Sunday, September 10th.

Immediately upon arrival, he approached a single young woman. The facility manager recognized him as a repeated sexual offender and intervened.

Fresno Police were called and Tafoya was told to leave and not return. For now, the judge has signed off on an emergency restraining order forcing the registered sex offender to stay away. The court waiting for Tafoya to be served with the request before issuing a more lengthy and longstanding order.

"If he is served, he will need to come to court. If he doesn't come to court the temporary restraining order will become a permanent restraining order for a certain amount of time. Which means, he has to stay away from that church."

For now, Tafoya is listed as transient status with no permanent address. Tracking him down is difficult. But now law enforcement officers from two different agencies are working to serve him with the order the next time he has to check in to update his sex offender status.

In the meantime, they are warning churches to be on the lookout for the serial groper.
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