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Woman recants rape allegations

Mario Jimenez, 35, of Merced has been exonerated on charges that he kidnapped and raped a 23-year-old woman earlier this month.

Cmdr. Tom Martin of the Merced Police Department said the woman recanted her claims during a follow-up investigation by Detective Keith Pelowski, the department's sexual assault investigator.

Martin said Jimenez was arrested Oct. 15 and booked into Merced County Jail on charges of rape by force, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Pelowski said the woman's claims were not adding up and numerous witnesses and physical evidence led him to conclude the allegations were false.

The Merced Police Department is not releasing the woman's name.

The woman told officers she had been at a market in the 1100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way when she was approached by Jimenez. She said Jimenez offered her money for sex and she refused.

She accused Jimenez of grabbing her by her sweatshirt and forcing her to a nearby apartment where she said he sexually assaulted her three times.

The woman admitted Jimenez had approached her about having sex for $10. She went back to his home voluntarily and had sex with Jimenez. She said she ate tacos with Jimenez and his brother and left the home.

Officers continue the investigation into the accuser and her activities, Martin said.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or