Palm Coast man faces charge after manipulating teen for sex, deputies say

The man knew the victim was 15-years-old, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office says

Gaston Santos Jr., 34
Gaston Santos Jr., 34 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

PALM COAST, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is crediting an anonymous tip for the arrest of a man accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.

Gaston Santos Jr., 34, was arrested Thursday after he confessed to having sex with the victim, even though he knew she was underage, according to a news release.

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Investigators said Santos manipulated the girl, making her believe the two were in a relationship. The man told her to lie about his age, coaching her to say he was “around her age,” records show.

“This is a sick and twisted individual who preyed on a young child and tricked her into an adult relationship,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a news release. “Thankfully someone came forward to alert us and our detectives worked quickly to make an arrest. We hope that the victim gets the help she needs to recover.”

Santos faces a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a child.

Investigators believe some of the abuse may have happened outside the county. Detectives said they are working to identify the location and alert the appropriate law enforcement agency.

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