DEER PARK, Texas – A Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District police officer has been charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old Deer Park girl who went missing Tuesday, police said.
Jorge Luis Bastida, 22, was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Police said the girl was found safe in a hotel in Cypress around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. According to authorities, she met Bastida -- known as "Jay" from Cypress -- on an app called MeetMe.
Police believed the girl was in “extreme danger" after she was picked up from her home early Tuesday morning and taken to Houston, police said.
“We started going through her social media accounts and discovered she was communicating with an unknown male who had arranged to have her picked up from her residence and taken to an unknown location,” said Lt. Chris Brown of the Deer Park Police Department.
Authorities said the Fairmont Junior High student was using a school-issued iPad to communicate with Bastida.
Deer Park ISD told KPRC 2 as of Monday, the MeetMe app was not installed on the child's device and the website was blocked. So, it's not clear how she was in touch with Bastida but the conversations police had access to from the app were alarming.
“The conversations were similar to those we've seen in the past of pedophiles who try to lure children out of the house,” Brown said.
What started as an online conversation ended at a hotel in Cypress where the girl was found. It was later discovered that Bastida was "Jay" and that he was an officer with Cy-Fair ISD Police Department, officials said.
Authorities said Bastida was a certified police officer who was training to be a resource officer with Cy-Fair ISD.
“I was very surprised. That is uncharacteristic of our profession and it shocked all of us,” Brown said. “As such with any suspect, we filed the appropriate charges. He’ll be initially processed here (in Deer Park) and transferred to Harris County.”
Lt. Brown said that Bastida arranged for an Uber to pick up the girl and take her to an apartment in Cypress, and from there he took her to the Guest House Hotel located along the 10800 block of Huffmeister Road, Houston.
The Police Department was notified and Bastida was removed from school grounds and taken into custody, investigators said. Bastida resigned from his position.
Cy-Fair ISD released the following statement:
"We are aware of the disturbing allegations that a former Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Police Department employee was involved in the aggravated sexual assault of a missing Deer Park juvenile. The employee, who resigned while being investigated, was in a training program and was always under the direct supervision of a field training officer in CFISD.
"These allegations are heartbreaking to the more than 16,000 other employees who represent CFISD with integrity."
HPD senior officer and social media specialist Angela Douglas said parents should monitor their kids' online use, friend them on apps and get their passwords.
“You cannot see what your kids are getting in terms of messages if you're just their friends,” said HPD Sr. Officer Douglas. “You have to log in to see what they're receiving.”