By Matthew Rice
A sharp-eyed New York City Port Authority detective is being credited by local law enforcement in the capture of a man accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old Granville girl late Friday night.
Ricardo Martinez-Gomez, 24, a Mexican citizen in the country illegally, was located in New York City having fled Granville about the time his accuser informed her mother and came to the Granville Police station to report the assault.
Police said the victim was touched while at a sleepover at a friend’s residence where Martinez-Gomez lived; three other children who lived in the residence have been interviewed and were not believed to have been victimized, police said.
The victim was touched as she lay on the floor in the vicinity of other children watching television next to Martinez-Gomez, police said.
“It looks like it was a crime of opportunity,” Granville Police Sgt. David Williams said. The woman who hosted the sleepover Martinez-Gomez’s girlfriend could face charges as she failed to immediately alert law enforcement when she was informed of the assault, police said.
After the assault, the victim told her friend and both spoke with the friend’s mother, however, the mother failed to contact the child’s mother or police, officials said.
Martinez-Gomez is being held in the Washington County Jail for lack of $100,000 cash or $200,000 bail bond, charged with a felony first-degree sexual abuse. Martinez-Gomez also faces possible criminal possession of a forged instrument charges. The forged instrument charge relates to an identification and social security card the suspect used, police said.
Finding Martinez-Gomez was not easy as police were temporarily misled in the search. Martinez-Gomez had been identifying himself as Gerardo Cruz while in the area and had a falsified identification card and social security card with the alias.
Martinez-Gomez has a criminal history and has been sent out of the United States three times previously, police said.
Williams said he had been working the phones with the help of State Police trying to track down Martinez-Gomez since the crime was reported Saturday morning.
The trail led police to believe Martinez-Gomez left the area and traveled to Stillwater before taking a bus from Albany into the city.
Williams said he had been in contact with New York City Police and the Port Authority asking them to check passengers on incoming buses.
Officers missed Martinez-Gomez when he got off the bus and were in the process of retrieving video of passengers exiting the bus when Det. Warren K. Davis spotted him sitting on a bench.
Martinez-Gomez was sitting in the Port Authority building having just arrived when avis recognized him as the suspect in the upstate case as he walked through on his way to lunch.
“(Davis) asked him if he was Martinez-Gomez and he replied ‘no’ he was Gerardo Cruz and showed him the identification,” Williams said.
At this point police were aware of the alias and Davis took Martinez-Gomez into custody.
Williams credited Davis for paying close attention and spotting a suspect he had only seen in photos through a crowd of passengers. Martinez-Gomez was held awaiting pick up.
Granville Police Chief Ernie Bassett Jr. gave officers permission to travel to New York City to retrieve the suspect, who was arraigned in Granville Village Court and remanded for lack of bail.
“(The capture) was the result of a lot of good work on behalf of multiple agencies,” Williams said.