Police Say Haines City Man Molested Elementary Age Child for Two Years
Haines City police say he denied any intentional touching, but told investigators and family members that it could have happened by accident.
HAINES CITY – A Haines City man was arrested early Friday (April 2) after detectives said they learned that he had been touching a young child inappropriately for about two years.
Mario Bautista, 34, is being charged with Lewd Molestation.
On several occasions, police said, Bautista had touched an elementary school-aged child on the genitals and forced the child to touch him. Detectives began investigating after the child confided in a trusted adult,who then contacted law enforcement and the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Throughout the investigation, it was learned that the child would be alone with Bautista when the inappropriate touching would take place. The child has lived in fear of Bautista since the touching began.
Bautista denied any intentional touching, but told investigators and family members that it could have happened by accident. Officers said Bautista did acknowledge to one incident about a month ago where he touched the child while the two were lying down together. Bautista denied all other incidents or touching any other children.
Police said they notified the U.S.Department of Homeland Security after the investigation revealed that Bautista is in the U.S. illegally.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure that this monster stays as far away from the victim as possible and where he belongs, in a cell,” Haines City police Chief Jim Elensky said. “I commend the reportee, who prompted this investigation, which led to a predator being put behind bars. As always, if anyone has been a victim or knows of any other victims, we encourage them to come forward.”
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