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Collier County Sheriff’s Office: Ave Maria man groomed boy then molested him for several years


Jake Allen   | Naples Daily News

An Ave Maria man accused of grooming a boy then molesting him many times for several years was arrested Tuesday.  

Richard Baga, 66, was charged with three counts of lewd or lascivious molestation with a victim between 12 and 16.  

After a tip to the Florida Abuse Hotline, the victim was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collier County for an interview, according to Collier County Sheriff’s Office.  

A deputy observed from another room as the victim was interviewed by a specialist with the advocacy center.   

Before the molestation began, Baga groomed the victim under the guise of providing the boy with life advice and offering him gifts, according to the sheriff’s office.  

The boy would go to Baga’s home and assist in cleaning the man’s swimming pool. Baga gave the victim and his family money, including $20,000, according to the sheriff’s office.   

Baga also paid for the victim’s cell phone for the past several years. Baga began molesting the victim in 2017 or 2018, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Baga paid the boy to record videos of himself engaging in sexual acts with an underage girl, according to the sheriff’s office.   

Then the victimization began to turn to physical, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Baga touched the victim’s genitals “multiple times” and on a frequent basis, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Baga also showed the victim pornography videos and, on several occasions, had the boy remove his clothing then hit him with a belt, according to the sheriff’s office.

The victim described several other victims who have been molested by Baga, according to the sheriff’s office.

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After the interview with a specialist, the victim called Baga while investigators listened in, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Baga spoke with the victim for about an hour, admitted to touching the victim and corroborated many of the details from the victim’s interview, according to the sheriff’s office.   

On Tuesday, a sheriff’s office deputy went to Baga’s home in Ave Maria and knocked on the door. It appeared no one was home, then Baga left in a vehicle from his garage, according to the sheriff’s office.  

A traffic stop was conducted and it was discovered Baga left his home with his dog, packed bags full of possessions, his passport and $2,050 in cash, according to the sheriff’s office.

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