On August 9, 35-year-old Patrick Wong went to meet a person he thought to be a teen girl but was instead arrested by an undercover sting operation by the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department. That wasn’t the only crime on Wong’s record, back in 2001 he was convicted of a third degree felony: indecency with a child.
EverythingLubbock.com spoke with a woman who said that she was the child who Wong exposed his genitals to in 2001.
She said that while she is glad the investigators were able to take Wong into custody, she’d concerned that he may have been preying undetected on other children over the last few years.
“I was pretty shocked just because it’s been fifteen years since I’ve seen the name, I mean I’ve seen articles every now and then pop up on him, but with this one making headlines like he did, I was like oh gosh what has he done now,” she said.
The woman asked to remain anonymous, we will refer to her as “Jane” in this article. The dates, timelines, and names she provided us with appear to line up with the information in the court documents we have regarding Wong’s case.
Jane explained what happened to her that day back in 2001: she recalled it was the last day or 3rd grade and she was ten-years-old at the time. She, her mother, and her twelve-year-old brother headed to Walmart in Lubbock off of 4th Street and the West Loop.
“My mom was going for something in the sewing department, and of course the first thing my brother and I do is run to the toy department, so we were supposed to stay together,” Jane said. She explained that she trailed off toward the girls’ toys and her brother wandered toward the boys’ toys.
“I’m standing there looking at the toys and I notice someone staring at me from the corner of my eye, and so [Wong] was on the end and I would look and he would kind of hide back behind the shelf real quickly, ” Jane said. “So I kept walking around thinking he’s not staring at me, maybe he’s looking for someone, and then when I caught him doing it a few more times that’s when I knew I was being followed.”
She recalled seeing two other young girls in the aisle and warning them to stay away. She turned to find her brother and leave.
“That’s when I saw [Wong] in the aisle and he had exposed himself to me and was touching himself, and at that time I didn’t know what it was, it took me a minute to register what was going on and I took off and found my mom,” Jane said.
She wasn’t sure immediately what Wong was doing but said she knew it wasn’t right. Jane said her case was investigated and she knew that Wong had been convicted. But the incident stuck with her, she explained that because she was wearing a shorts-jumpsuit the day Wong exposed himself to her, she didn’t feel comfortable wearing shorts until after high school.
“I still have that lingering feeling there is someone looking at me like that, so now I’m watching my back all the time. So it’s good to keep an eye on your surroundings,” Jane said.
The additional details about Wong’s recent efforts to have sexual experiences with minors disturb Jane even more.
The search warrant for Wong’s home explains that the LCSO investigator connected with Wong through Facebook earlier in the summer, posing as a 14-year-old girl who had moved to Lubbock. Over time, Wong began to send the investigator messages of an increasingly sexual nature, stating that he is into incest and also that “you have no idea how perverted I am”. He requested explicit photos from the undercover investigator and expressed interest in meeting up with her for sex. He showed up on August 9 to meet the girl with an iced coffee. He also had condoms in his wallet at the time, the warrant stated.
The warrant also cites that Wong was given a polygraph test and admitted he had met a 13-year-old female child online and received oral sex from her on the Texas Tech property.
Previous court records indicate that Wong created a MySpace account in 2006 and viewed pornography at Lubbock stores in 2004 despite the fact that it violated the terms of his parole. Additionally the records show that Wong had at least ten unexcused absences from sex offender counseling sessions.
Lt. Bryan Taylor with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office explained that many sexual predators are turning to the internet and social media to target children and teens. He explained that the LCSO sting operation into Wong is part of one of their regular tactics for catching sexual predators.
“It’s just like casting a net in social media land and see what hits, and if something hits then we start looking into it,” Taylor said, adding that the officers conducting these investigations have to be highly skilled to operate them successfully.
When the Wong was convicted of indecency with a child, Facebook didn’t even exist. But in Wong’s recent arrest, Facebook played a role both in how he connected with potential victims, and in how law enforcement lured him in.
“People are more and more outspoken about [sexual assault], they’re being reported more and more, but it’s also easier for these [sex offenders], chances of succeeding have just exploded with online technology,” Taylor said.
Jane wonders how many other people may have been victims of Wong’s advances. She hasn’t always been willing to talk about what happened in 2001, but hearing about Wong’s recent arrest made her want to speak out.
“I just felt like it was time, after seeing [Wong arrested again] it made me think how many chances is somebody like him gonna get before something’s done? How many people does he have to emotionally scar?” she wondered.
Jane explained that even having Wong in custody doesn’t ease all of her fears: she still worries about what other sex offenders might do.
Jane is now starting a family of her own and explains that being violated as a child will make her stricter with her own kids.
“Teach your kids to keep an eye around them because if I hadn’t who knows what would have happened,” she said.
The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office said that vigilant parenting is the best way to fight off would-be predators, LCSO especially recommends limiting your child’s internet access, or only allowing them to use a computer which sits in a shared space in the home.
Wong is currently being held at the Lubbock County Detention center with bonds totaling $200,000.