ST. PETERSBURG — When police arrested Steve J. Carvajal earlier this week on charges of sexual battery, they said they were concerned the 26-year-old may have had other victims.
By week's end, detectives had an answer.
On Thursday, investigators added a charge of sexual battery of a child against Carvajal, after a St. Petersburg couple came forward and said he molested their 7-year-old daughter.
Police spokesman Mike Puetz said investigators were primarily focusing on the possibility Carvajal, who is homeless, had other adult victims.
Investigators became aware of the young girl's story only when her parents called police this week after learning Carvajal was arrested Sunday night, accused of raping a 42-year-old woman at knifepoint at in the area of 34th Avenue N and 35th Street.
The girl's parents told police they've known Carvajal for several years and allowed him to stay with them from time to time. They trusted him enough to let him watch their children.
"Their suspicions were raised after the arrest though," Puetz said. "They talked to their children, and the girl gave indications something wasn't right."
The girl told detectives Carvajal has been molesting her since August, Puetz said.
Police had already started looking more deeply into Carvajal because of Sunday's incident, which came to light after a patrol officer saw a woman chasing Carvajal down the street about 11:45 p.m. Sunday. The officer stopped the pair, and the woman told him she had just seen Carvajal raping a woman in an alley — and recording it on a cellphone. The woman also claimed Carvajal had raped other women recently.
Police had no previous reports of a serial rapist. It is not uncommon, however, for sexual attacks to go unreported.
According to state records, Carvajal's criminal history includes convictions for trespassing, theft and battery. He now faces two counts of sexual battery, kidnapping and armed robbery and is in the Pinellas County Jail without bail.