ST. GEORGE — A man who allegedly raped a child several times while babysitting her pleaded not guilty Wednesday at the 5th District Courthouse in St. George.
Jose Manrique Delacruz, 38, was arrested in May for sex offenses that allegedly happened four years ago. He faces several first-degree felony charges for rape of a child, object rape of a child, sodomy on a child and aggravated sex abuse of a child, as well as a misdemeanor for lewdness involving a child.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, Delacruz allegedly volunteered to watch the girl while her mother went to work. While he babysat the child, he allegedly groped and raped her. The girl, who was 9 at the time of Delacruz’s arrest, told police the alleged assaults happened eight times.
A week before the child disclosed the incident, police say she ran into Delacruz at a store.
“After that, the child was not happy; she was serious, quiet and depressed,” the arresting officer wrote in the probable cause statement, adding that the girl’s mother believed her daughter wanted to tell her something but would not say it.
The child eventually told her mother she had been raped. Police were contacted, and after a two-day investigation, Delacruz was arrested on May 24.
Because Delacruz was acting as the babysitter at the time, police enhanced his charges to first-degree felonies. He was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility, where he remains in custody.
Since being arrested, police also charged Delacruz with felony charges for identity fraud and forgery. Upon inspecting his social security number and permanent resident card, police discovered them to be associated with other actual people and not Delacruz. He also pleaded not guilty to his fraud and forgery charges Wednesday.
A jury trial for Delacruz was scheduled for November.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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