Cleveland Man Held in Rape of 9-Year-Old Girl

A 49-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, man was being held without bail Monday on suspicion of kidnaping and raping a 9-year-old La Habra girl, authorities said.

Lawrence Alfred Esper Sr. was arrested after he allegedly took the young victim to Whittier Hospital Medical Center "to be treated for her injuries that occurred during the kidnaping and rape," La Habra Police Lt. Wayne Lowry said.

The girl was forced into a van about 7:45 a.m. as she walked to school in the 500 block of Walnut Street, near Whittier Boulevard, Lowry said. The child was taken to another location and raped, then taken to the Whittier hospital where the suspect told attendants what happened, Lowry said.

Hospital officials alerted Whittier police, who detained the suspect until La Habra officers arrived. The girl underwent surgery at the hospital for her injuries, Lowry said. A hospital spokesman said she was in stable condition Monday.

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