A 45-year-old registered sex offender from Los Angeles County who now lives in Crystal Falls northeast of Sonora has been accused of kidnapping and raping a 19-year-old woman he allegedly met days before on a dating website, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Chad Howard Vanhulzen has been charged with five felonies and despite his status as a registered sex offender, he has been free on $150,000 bail since Saturday. He was arrested two days before that at 5:55 p.m. last Thursday, Feb. 11, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The afternoon of Feb. 11, the Sheriff’s Office received “a concerning report of a potential sexual assault” that had just occurred. With help from the reporting person, the Sheriff’s Office tracked and located the victim using GPS information from the victim’s phone.
Deputies arrived in person and found the 19-year-old woman was with Vanhulzen at Longeway Road and Crystal Falls Drive. Deputies called for detectives to investigate further.
As a result of the investigation, Vanhulzen was arrested that day on suspicion of kidnapping, rape by force, false imprisonment, attempting to prevent or dissuade a victim from reporting, and oral copulation with force.
The Sheriff’s Office said Vanhulzen and the woman met online a few days before Feb. 11 on an unnamed dating website. They met in person for the first time the evening before the alleged crimes occurred. The Sheriff’s Office did not publicly disclose what dating website Vanhulzen and the 19-year-old woman met on.
Vanhulzen first registered as a sex offender in Tuolumne County in August 2020. He has a residential address in the 21600 block of Crystal Lake Drive. Vanhulzen could not be reached Wednesday for comment. The Sheriff’s Office said Vanhulzen was first required to register as a sex offender in February 2013.
The California Megan’s Law Website shows Vanhulzen was convicted in 2013 of lewd or lascivious acts with a child 14 or 15 years of age; and offender 10 or more years older than the victim. Megan’s Law was enacted in 1996 to notify the public about specified registered sex offenders.
Vanhulzen has been known to use other names or aliases, including Chad Howard Vanhulen and Cameron Howard Bernays. Vanhulzen’s potential risk of committing a sexual reoffense was rated on the state website as 2 to 3 for average risk.
Online records and news reports show Vanhulzen was 37 years old and living in Hermosa Beach when he was accused in November 2012 of engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with a 14-year-old Carson girl. Authorities said Vanhulzen met the girl at a party in June 2012 in Torrance. The girl’s parents discovered the alleged relationship and notified law enforcement. Hermosa Beach, Carson and Torrance are all in L.A. County.
When Vanhulzen was arrested Nov. 14, 2012, he was charged with 15 felony counts of unlawful sex with a minor and other offenses, Torrance police told the Daily Breeze newspaper in Hermosa Beach. Vanhulzen was first held on bail totaling $1.25 million. He initially pleaded not guilty to the crimes.
Legal notices published in May 2014 editions of the Malibu Times newspaper showed Chad Howard Vanhulzen had filed a petition with the Los Angeles County Superior Court of California for a decree changing his name to Chad Howard Fakio. A hearing was scheduled in June 2014.
In July 2020, L.A. County Superior Court records show that a judge intended to grant Vanhulzen’s petition to change his name, with the stipulation that the court clerk not release the name change decree until Vanhulzen shows proof that he has re-registered as a sex offender and narcotic offender under the new name.
Online there is a website, https://chadvanhulzen.com, which is headlined in part “FAKE NEWS” and “Want the Truth? Good, because it's coming soon” and “The Real Chad Van Hulzen a.k.a. CHAD FAKIO.”
The website has a text narrative stating, “Lied to by an underage girl at a mansion party (covered in tattoos, with a beer in her hand) who climbed on top of me in a hot tub, stuck her hand down my shorts & grabbed my **** AND MONTHS LATER I'M JAILED FOR IT!”
Whoever put the website together focused on two factors that led to the arrest of Vanhulzen in L.A. County: “hater terrorism” and a “crooked detective.”
Numerous people in Tuolumne County posted online earlier this week about Vanhulzen’s arrest in Sonora and his registered sex offender status. Some people copied and pasted, other people used screenshots. Some posted Vanhulzen was out on bail for another crime or crimes when he was arrested Feb. 11. A Sheriff’s Office deputy said Wednesday there was no record that Vanhulzen was out on bail when he was arrested Feb. 11.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.