Police search for third suspect in rape case

Jesus Hernandez

Police have yet to arrest a third suspect involved in the
statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl inside a former cannery
building in east Gilroy last month.
Police have yet to arrest a third suspect involved in the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl inside a former cannery building in east Gilroy last month.

Jesus Hernandez, 41, a local transient, and Martin Gonzalez Lopez, 43, of the 100 block of Third Street, were arrested May 6 on charges of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 after allegedly having sex with the girl in an abandoned warehouse. Hernandez also was arrested on a charge of sexual penetration of a child under age 14 with a foreign object. The pair have a plea hearing scheduled at the South County Courthouse at 9 a.m. Friday.

A third suspect allegedly had sex with the girl in exchange for $80 – $20 of which she gave to Hernandez and Lopez for beer and cigarettes they had already purchased, according to a police report. That suspect, allegedly a close friend of Lopez, is described as a 23-year-old Hispanic male who is 5 feet, 2 inches and about 142 pounds. However, police have not made any other arrests in the case, Sgt. Jim Gillio said Monday.

The 13-year-old victim told police that she initially planned to go to Christmas Hill Park at 7 p.m. May 4, but she could not find anyone to give her a ride there, according to court documents. As a result, she went to the Caltrain depot on Monterey Street and asked a man on a bicycle if he had cigarettes, the report said. The man said his “partner” had cigarettes, and he led the girl to the abandoned warehouse at 199 E. Ninth St., according to court documents.

The girl told police that about five people were at the encampment, and she told them she was 18 years old, according to police. She asked if they had marijuana and methamphetamine, and they said they did, according to police reports. The girl told police that a man, who she later identified as Lopez, provided her with both drugs.

In an initial interview, the girl said that she did not have any sex with any of the men, stating that they only had touched her chest and given her hickeys, according to court documents. However, her story changed during a subsequent interview after Lopez had told police that he had sex with the girl, according to court documents.

During a second interview, she initially told police that she woke up in the warehouse at Alexander and Ninth streets to find her shirt off and some of her clothes on backwards, according to court documents. Police still believed she was holding back information and gave her a pen and paper to write what happened, according to a police report. She then wrote that she had sex with Lopez, Hernandez and the third suspect, adding that she initially lied because she did not want to get into trouble, according to police reports.

She told police after making her written account that she only had sex with the third suspect after Hernandez and Lopez asked her to do so for money so that they could get part of the proceeds, according to court documents. She also said that Lopez initially gave her $5 after having sex and then later asked for it back.

A counselor notified police when the victim arrived home the morning of May 5 with hickeys on her neck and reportedly told the counselor that she was high on methamphetamine, according to court documents. Police interviewed her the following day, and she pointed out Lopez and Hernandez from inside a police car near the warehouse.

Amy Cornell, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said victims in these types of cases typically do not face criminal charges. However, the DA’s office reviews each incident on a case-by-case basis, she said. If charges were filed, it would be considered a juvenile matter, she said.

The public defender’s office will represent Lopez, while an alternate defender will represent Hernandez, as the public defender’s office cannot represent two defendants being tried for the same crime.

Hernandez and Lopez are both being held in Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas on $50,000 bail.

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