OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County deputies arrested a man Friday, accused of capital sexual battery on a 6-year-old girl in Kissimmee.
Wuiliam Gerardo Colmenares-Mendez, 56, was taken into custody after he was identified as the suspect by the victim, Sheriff Marcos Lopez said.
In a news conference Friday, Lopez said Colmenares-Mendez was renting a room in a house where a mother and daughter were also renting a room.
The mother moved out after she saw the suspect interacting wither her daughter. After they found a new place to live, the sheriff said that’s when the daughter said the man grabbed her on at least two occasions and molested her.
Colmenares-Mendez faces charges of capital sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation and showing obscene material to a minor, the release states.
Lopez said Colmenares-Mendez was in the country illegally from Venezuela. The sheriff added he has been reported to ICE.
Lopez also said the victim was an undocumented immigrant, and he wants undocumented migrants to know that if they are victims of a crime, they can report it to the sheriff’s office, regardless of their immigration status.
“Children sometimes become victims of these guys, predators who prey on and do pornographic type movies and put them on the dark web,” Lopez said. “You know, we don’t want these kids being scarred for life. It’s not your fault you’re here. And a lot of times victims are afraid to come forward because they’re afraid of being separated from their children. And we understand that. So you know, we want you to come forward.”
Immigration attorney Laura Quintero said for many families alerting law enforcement is a choice they avoid.
“The majority of my clients are undocumented they don’t have papers, they are scared,” Quintero said.
She said the sweeping immigration law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year is a huge factor in why they fear reporting crimes.
There are resources for immigrants who’ve become victims of a crime.
It’s a called U-Visa. If approved, victims receive temporary immigration status for themselves plus qualifying family members; and the possibility of lawful permanent resident status. More information is on the Department of Homeland Security website.
There are 32 qualifying crimes, including sexual assault.
“Don’t be scared, the police are here to protect us not to go against us,” Quintero said.
Meanwhile, a new state law goes into effect Oct. 1 that allows some people who commit sexual offenses against children to get the death penalty if convicted.
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