Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Tampa man June 18 on four charges of sexual battery of a child.
Prudencio James Diaz, 67, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on two counts of sexual battery of a child under age 12 and two counts of sexual battery of a child older than age 12 but under age 18. Bail was set at $240,000.
Detectives with the Crimes Against Children Unit began their investigation on May 23 after receiving information from the victim regarding years of sexual abuse by Diaz. The reported sexual battery occurred when the victim was age 9-13 at various locations in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
Detectives say the victim’s mother met Diaz, who lived in Hillsborough County, through a newspaper dating platform in 1992 or 1993. After a few months, Diaz became more involved in their lives and he began to spoil the mother and the victim with dinner, movies and sporting events.
Detectives say the victim was about 9-years-old when the relationship first started.
Approximately two months after Diaz met the victim’s mother, Diaz began an inappropriate sexual relationship with the victim, which progressed into Diaz performing oral sex on the victim. The victim informed detectives the abuse became “routine” and often occurred a few times a week until he was approximately 13-years-old. On one occasion, Diaz had the victim perform anal sex on him.
Through various investigative techniques, detectives were able to corroborate the victim’s statements.
Pinellas detectives interviewed Diaz June 18 at the Sheriff’s Administration Building in Largo. During the interview, Diaz reportedly admitted to the victim’s allegations of sexual abuse.
Anyone who has information regarding this case or believes they have been a victim is asked to contact Detective Geoghegan of the Crimes Against Children Unit at 727-582-5662.