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Santa Barbara-area man facing sex crime charges involving elderly residents, officials say

Posted at 8:10 AM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 12:18:36-05

A Santa Barbara-area man was arrested this week on suspicion of sex crimes investigators say targeted elderly victims at care homes in the area.

The investigation began on Jan. 5 of this year when the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says detectives began looking into allegations of abuse at a care home in Goleta between 2013 and 2020.

During the investigation, investigators say they learned an additional offense may have also happened in Santa Barbara.

“Through their coordinated investigations, Sheriff’s and Police Detectives learned that 32-year-old Jared Ekola of Santa Barbara targeted two vulnerable patients at the care home where he was employed in Goleta and another victim at a care home in Santa Barbara,” according to a news release. “Ekola allegedly engaged in sex acts with the victims who were unable to consent, protect themselves, or report the abuse due to their physical and mental status.”

Jared Ekola.jpg
Jared Ekola

Search and arrest warrants were served at Ekola’s home Wednesday evening in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara, according to sheriff’s officials, who say he was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail and is being held without bail.

He reportedly faces felony charges including elder abuse, rape and other unlawful sexual acts.

The investigation is ongoing. The sheriff’s office asked anyone with information on this case to call detectives at (805) 681-4150. Anonymous tips can be made by calling (805)681-4171 or online here.