Sting: SMPD was called after a man tried to arrange a meeting with a child on Dec. 5. Courtesy photo

The Santa Monica Police Department has arrested a man on suspicion of attempting a lewd act with a child after a San Diego based activist group trapped the suspect as part of an elaborate online investigation.

Fernando Dominguez a 30-year-old man from Los Angeles has been charged with contacting a minor for a sexual offense and meeting a minor for lewd purposes after a Dec. 5 arrest in Downtown Santa Monica. He is currently held on a $75,000 bail.

Dominguez was arrested as part of a sting operation organized by CC Unit, a civilian organization that works to expose child predators. Dominguez contacted CC Unit through two of their dummy accounts on social media and initiated contact with what he thought were two underage girls.

Members of the group posed as a 14-year-old girl and used online platforms to communicate with Dominguez for more than six months before arranging to meet in person. During those online chats, Dominguez described committing sexual acts with the child and the logs of those discussions were provided to police as evidence along with video.

CC Unit broadcasts their stings online and during the live stream of the Santa Monica event, Dominguez tried to leave the scene. However, viewers contacted SMPD who arrested him at 4th and Colorado. CC Unit only notifies local police agencies when they make contact with the suspect to avoid wasting police resources if the suspect doesn’t show up.

The head of CC Unit (the “CC” stands for Creep Catching) said members of the organization are volunteers who work on sting operations in their free time. Their efforts have secured convictions in several jurisdictions throughout California and the group operates statewide. He said the frequency and location of the operations is entirely dependent on the “creep.” In last week’s incident, the confrontation occurred in Santa Monica because the suspect expressed a fantasy of meeting a minor for sex on the Ferris wheel.

More information on CC unit can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/ccunitsd or https://www.youtube.com/c/CCUnit.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...