A 26-year Livingston man was arrested on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl, authorities said.
Herminio Martinez was arrested Monday outside the home of the victim’s aunt’s house, where he had made arrangements to meet her, according to Merced County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
Authorities learned of the alleged relationship after receiving a call Sunday night from family members who thought the girl had gone missing. She returned to the house, but finally told her family that she had sneaked off to see her boyfriend, Martinez.
The family called the sheriff’s office the next day to report the crime. According to Deputy Ralph Zyskowski, the relationship had been ongoing for a couple of months before family members found out about it.
After an initial investigation, Det. Alex Barba discovered that Martinez had been having sexual relations with the victim for the past few months. He is still investigating allegations that Martinez had been “seeing” the girl for over a year, since she was 11.
Martinez faces charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor with more than 10 years difference, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
Martinez was booked into Merced Jail; bail was set at $250,000.