Police have arrested a New Orleans man and accused him of impregnating a 12-year-old girl after repeatedly raping her, according to NOLA.com.
Investigators allege that Jose Moreno Cervantes, 35, raped the victim on three occasions in January 2015. Authorities say the girl gave birth to Cervantes’ son in September 2015. The 35-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office revealed that Cervantes was a friend of the girl’s family. Col. John Fortunato spoke to reporters and described how the suspect allegedly manipulated the victim into staying quiet.
“He told her not to say anything because he would go to jail,” he said.
The girl’s stomach began to protrude in August 2015, leading a school counselor to ask if she was pregnant. Though she denied it, authorities say her mother took the 12-year-old to a medical center where doctors confirmed that she was with child.
The Livingston Parish News reports that Cervantes was arrested in June 2016. He was originally charged with three counts of aggravated rape of a victim under 13. Another count of aggravated rape was added in August 2016.
Westwego police Detective Tyler Lopez told NOLA.com that Cervantes, who is in the country illegally, was hard to track down because he uses several aliases. Authorities obtained a warrant for his arrest but it took several days to locate the 35-year-old.
Bond was set for Cervantes at $500,000 on each of the three counts of aggravated rape of a victim under 13 and an additional $500,000 on the aggravated rape charge. He remains imprisoned and awaiting trial.
[Featured Image: Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office]