Former Northridge Skateland employee Julian Christopher Flores, who goes by "Chris," is accused of indulging in a foot fetish with up to 200 young boys.
Flores was arrested in December after an alleged incident with a 9-year-old boy.
"It was originally reported by the family that this individual had asked their son to remove his socks and put his feet on the suspect's face. Obviously, that was a concern. They investigated it," said Cmdr. Andy Smith with the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to a search warrant obtained by Eyewitness News, Flores convinced the boy to follow him to a maintenance room after he told him, "I bet you can't take off your socks without your hands."
According to the search warrant, the boy's grandmother went to look for her grandson when he didn't come back from the restroom, which is where she thought he went. She started to call out his name. Flores allegedly turned off the maintenance room lights and told the victim to be quiet. He allegedly then told the victim to exit the maintenance room after him.
The grandmother waited for the boy in the hallway next to the bathroom, according to the documents. Shortly after she saw Flores coming out into the hallway, she saw her grandson walk out without his skates on. The boy then told her what happened.
According to the search warrant, Flores admitted to the victim's allegations during an interview with LAPD detectives the following day. Flores allegedly "admitted to having a foot fetish and that he is sexually aroused by his fetish." He allegedly said he was going to "play with [the] victim's feet" if the boy's grandmother hadn't interrupted them. Investigators said Flores admitted to doing this to about 200 boys at Skateland in the past year.
Investigators say they looked through Flores' laptop and cellphone and found several videos of Flores instructing young victims to take off their socks.
Flores was arrested for attempted lewd conduct upon a child and false imprisonment. He posted $150,000 bail and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted on both counts, Flores faces a maximum of over 8 years in state prison.
David Fleming, owner of Northridge Skateland, said he handed over surveillance video of Flores to investigators. Flores worked at the family-owned business for two and a half years.
"There just wasn't anything there that would indicate to us that he would ever do anything like that," Fleming said during an interview with Eyewitness News.
Fleming said Flores was immediately terminated upon his arrest.
"We're just happy to see that we can move on now and just assure everybody that Skateland is still a very, very safe place to be," said Fleming.
Fleming said in a statement that his family has been in the business for more than 50 years and that this is an isolated incident.
"My brother Michael and I are former 9-year LAPD Reserve Officers so security and safety is a high priority. We are surprised and outraged that for the first time in the history of our rink one of our employees was being inappropriate with a customer by touching his feet," the statement said. "With close to 10,000 quality part-time employees having worked at Skateland since 1958, this one employee situation is an isolated incident. We have received just the one complaint which resulted in the arrest."
Authorities are trying to identify any additional victims. Anyone with information was asked to call the LAPD's Juvenile Division's Sexually Exploited Child Unit at (213) 486-0580.