Las Cruces man indicted on child sexual assault charges
Editor's note: This story contains descriptions of child sexual assault. La Piñon offers several services for those children and adults experiencing abuse. La Piñon can be contacted at 575-526-3437.
LAS CRUCES - A grand jury indicted a man that police say sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl and a ten-year-old girl in 2019.
Police accused Joshua Ruben Chavez, 43, of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl and taking pictures of her 10-year-old sister's breasts and genitals in 2019. On Tuesday, a grand jury leveled an indictment against Chavez.
He was indicted on six counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, a first-degree felony. Additionally, he's being charged with two counts of attempts to commit sexual penetration of a minor, a second-degree felony, and manufacturing visual medium of sexual exploitation of children, a second-degree felony.
Chavez's charges stem from a series of alleged incidents from January to August 2019.
The alleged victim's mother told police that she met Chavez at a grocery store years before the alleged incidents. The two developed a friendship, she said. Chavez gave the mother money and drove her around when needed. He also babysat the older sister, who was a toddler at the time.
Chavez and the mother rekindled their friendship by 2019 after a chance meeting, according to court documents. The mother told police that Chavez asked about her daughter and asked if he could see her.
At the time, Chavez was a registered sex offender. In 2012, Chavez pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. As part of his sentence, Chavez registered as a sex offender.
The mother said she was aware that Chavez registered as a sex offender in 2012. However, she told police that she established rules for Chavez to be around her children.
From January to August 2019, Chavez slept over at the alleged victim's home. During that time, the mother wasn't aware of any abuse, according to her statements to police.
Read more:Man indicted, accused of sexual assault of two girls
However, on Mother's Day 2021, the mother's oldest daughter said Chavez took photos of her naked, masturbated in front of her and her sister, and tried to pull down a towel she was using to cover herself in 2019.
When police asked the younger daughter if she knew Chavez, she said "he is the man who raped me," referring to several incidents ranging from January to August 2019.
In an interview with police, the youngest daughter described multiple instances of Chavez sexually assaulting her. She said Chavez would call her "his baby," and told the 9-year-old girl that if she told anybody about what Chavez had allegedly done to her "she would get in a lot of trouble."
Chavez was arrested on July 1, 2021.
On July 6, Third District Judge Richard Jacquez granted Chavez a $15,000 secured bond — meaning Chavez must pay $15,000, or 10% of that amount to a bail bondsman, to get out of jail — after the prosecution asked that Chavez be detained before his trial.
The District Attorney's office said Chavez remained in jail as of July 21.
Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at JEGarcia@lcsun-news.com or on Twitter @Just516garc.
Others are reading: