Accused Child Rapist Was Released Twice, Arrested Again on Rape Charges

January 29, 2019 Updated: January 29, 2019

An accused child rapist was released by a judge twice before being arrested again on Jan. 28 on rape charges.

Raymond Hernandez, 29, was charged on Jan. 14 with molesting his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter early on Jan. 12. He also allegedly sexually assaulted another 13-year-old girl, who was spending the night at the residence.

According to court documents obtained by Taos News, the New Mexico man gave both girls alcohol before the alleged crimes.

Hernandez was charged with criminal sexual contact of a minor, abuse of a child, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of battery.

But Taos Magistrate Court Judge Ernest Ortega released the alleged criminal on Jan. 15, ordering him to wear a GPS monitoring unit and saying that he couldn’t have any contact with the alleged victims.

Two days after he was released, Hernandez was charged with raping a 19-month-old girl who lives at the residence where he allegedly sexually assaulted the two teenage girls.

Forensic examination indicated that the child had been raped and investigators also found a witness who said Hernandez raped the child.

Hernandez appeared back in the Taos Magistrate Court on Jan. 24 and was released a second time by Judge Ortega on unsecured appearance bond, which was set at $20,000.

According to law enforcement officials, later that day he was charged with raping a 5-year-old girl at a neighbor’s house in Penasco.

A sheriff’s deputy who responded gathered statements from the child’s parents and interviewed the child, although a physical examination didn’t produce evidence consistent with the allegations, according to court records obtained by Taos News.

Hernandez was found on Jan. 28 and arrested for the third time. He surrendered to New Mexico State Police Officers at a local bail bondsman’s office in Taos, reported Taos News.

Taos County Undersheriff Steve Miera said that a search warrant will allow officers to obtain a sample of Hernandez’s DNA, which he thinks will connect the defendant to the alleged rape of the 5-year-old.

The judge who released Hernandez twice has not commented on why the alleged rapist kept getting released despite, according to officers, committing additional crimes.

Ortega, a Democrat, was first appointed to the position of magistrate court judge by former Gov. Bill Richardson in 2006, according to the New Mexico Matters blog.

“Ernest Ortega is known for his compassion, intelligence, and integrity,” Richardson said in his announcement. “I am confident that Ernest Ortega’s background and work ethic will make him an excellent magistrate judge.”

He was re-elected later in 2006 and in 2014.

Prior to becoming a judge, Ortega was a spokesman for the New Mexico Secretary of State. He has also been the director of pretrial services for John Paternoster of the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

After the third arrest, Hernandez is being held and a first appearance date for the latest case has not been set.

Child Abuse

According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (pdf), approximately 3.5 million children nationwide in 2016 were the subjects of at least one maltreatment report to authorities.

“Child abuse is one of the nation’s most serious concerns,” the authors of the report wrote in the introduction. About 17 percent of those reports were substantiated; the department said that there were an estimated 676,000 victims of child abuse and neglect, or 9.1 victims per 1,000 children.

Children in their first year of life had the highest rate of victimization at 24.8 per 1,000 children of the same age in the national population. About three-quarters of the cases were neglect while about 18 percent were physical abuse. Some children suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment.

Of the perpetrators of the abuse, more than four-fifths were between the ages of 18 and 44 and more than half were women.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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