'He wouldn't have stopped'; A Tucson teen's quick thinking puts predator behind bars

Maggie Vespa

Photo: Video by kgun9.com

'He wouldn't have stopped'; A Tucson teen's quick thinking puts predator behind bars

CREATED Apr. 30, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's a terrifying thought for any parent, imagining your child as the target of a predator.

Luckily a teen girl's quick thinking put an accused predator, 46 year-old Ismael Delgado, behind bars. 
 
Police say last Wednesday at Martha Cooper Library near Speedway and Columbus, Delgado approached the teen, asked her some questions, rubbed her arm and left his phone number.
 
Experts say what she did next, probably saved her life and several others.
 
They say it's tough to imagine.
 
9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa asked one teen, "Has anybody ever approached you?"
 
He responded, "Nobody has ever approached me."
 
But for teens who make places like a public library a regular hangout, the thought of a predator lurking behind the bookshelves leaves them shaken.
 
"It makes me nervous here," said one girl.
 
For parents, it leaves them fearful of leaving their kids alone.
 
"I want to keep them in a room, like just a big playroom with books and stuffed toys and just make sure they're there," said one mother.
 
But, that instinct aside, if your child was approached by a man like Ismael Delgado, would he or she keep their composure like this victim?
 
Police say she say kept his number and told any adult she could find.
 
"She reported it to the librarian, to her parents, and to police," said TPD Sergeant Chris Widmer.
 
Police hope so.
 
"The fact that she told somebody, may have prevented someone else from being a victim of this person," he said.
 
And it's a point that, child abuse experts say, is unquestionable.
 
"We know he wouldn't have stopped with her, so it was critical," said Jerry Peyton.  
 
He runs "Sold No More", a local group that combats child sex trafficking.
 
9OYS spoke to Peyton via phone.
 
He says this teen girl's actions weren't just crucial.  They were unusual.
 
"Even an adult, we would be intimidated by someone coming up, touching us, leaving a phone number, saying things... And for a young adult, that's traumatizing," he said.
 
And that's why Peyton says the key  is not locking your kids in a room but letting them know how to respond to the dangers in this world, once they're out.
 
Police staged a sting by calling the number Delgado left with the teen and luring him to a different location.
 
They say he believed he was meeting a 14 year-old girl.

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