A north Texas man stands accused of repeatedly sexually molesting a nine-year-old girl over the course of a year in a back room of the cell phone store where he worked.
On Monday, the Irving Police Department released details about the case, noting they arrested the alleged suspect Gerardo Israel Strauss, 36, on Friday, May 12. Officers charged him with the Aggravated Sexual Assault of a child under the age of 14, and set his bond at $100,000. Strauss remains in the Irving City Jail as detectives continue to sort through the allegations that he sexually assaulted the nine-year-old child in the back room of the Metro PCS cell store where he was employed in Irving.
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a child under the age of 14 years old is considered a first degree felony and, if found guilty, Strauss may face a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison, according to the Texas Penal Code.
According to police, the alleged sexual assaults took place over the past year when the victim was dropped off by her mother at the Metro PCS store to play while the parent went next door to attend a fitness class. According to Irving PD spokesman James McLellan, this was something that other parents did in the area. “Apparently this was kind of a common practice among many parents, and there had been no issues in the past,” he told CBS DFW.
“Obviously hindsight’s 20/20,” he added. “We can look back and say this never would’ve happened had that child not been left there,” McLellan stated. Addressing any purported concerns about the mother’s actions, McLellan commented: “There are statues for child endangerment. At the moment, there’s not enough evidence to support that she knowingly left her child in a situation.”
The alleged sexual incidents came to light on April 18 when the child victim made an outcry to an elementary school counselor saying she had been inappropriately touched by a man in the Metro PCS store. Subsequently, officials conducted a forensic interview in which the child victim described being taken to a back room on several occasions by a male employee where he sexually assaulted her. Irving detectives opened an investigation and, subsequently, identified the alleged perpetrator as Strauss.
As the Irving Police Department continues to investigate the allegations, they recommend that the parents of any other area children left unattended with Strauss at the Metro PCS store contact detectives about any other possible inappropriate physical contact.
“We’re open to the fact that there may be additional victims,” said McLellan.
Reportedly, this Metro PCS store is currently closed.
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