St. Croix man charged with raping 14-year-old girl


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ST. CROIX - A 22-year-old man remained jailed unable to meet the conditions of his release after being charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl last year.

Alexis Rivera, of Mutual Homes housing community was arrested Thursday evening and made his initial court appearance before Magistrate Miguel Camacho on Friday morning. He was charged with second-degree aggravated rape, unlawful sexual contact and having obscene Internet contact with a minor.

Rivera slowly walked into the courtroom, his head bowed and his hands and legs bound by chains as he appeared before the judge. As Camacho advised Rivera that he could spend the rest of his life in prison with a minimum of 10 years on the aggravated rape charge alone and up to one year in prison on the other two charges, Rivera raised his head briefly, then dropped it again.

According to the probable cause fact sheet filed by V.I. Police Detective Naomi Joseph, a woman contacted police last November saying that Rivera had been having inappropriate contact with her daughter and she wanted it to stop.

Joseph said the woman did not contact her again until in April, and the mother said she had taken the girl to the doctor and it was determined that the girl had been sexually active.

Joseph said the woman reported that she found out that the girl had stolen her grandmother's cell phone to use as her own and that she had received sexually explicit pictures and videos from Rivera.

Joseph said she spoke with the girl, who admitted that she met Rivera through a friend and they had been in a relationship since July 6. The girl told Joseph that while her grandmother was having her hair done, she snuck away to meet Rivera at the Frederiksted park to celebrate their two-month anniversary of their relationship, and they had sex several times in the bathroom there.

The girl said before and after that encounter, she and Rivera had shared texts and video.

Under local law, anyone older than 18 who has sexual intercourse with someone younger than 13, or who is more than five years younger than they are, is guilty of aggravated rape.

Joseph said based on her conversation with the girl, Rivera knew the girl was 14 years old and had come to see her one day at school, and the principal confronted him and told him not to return to the campus.

Joseph said when Rivera was brought in for questioning on Thursday, he waived his right to remain silent and told police that he knew the girl and had met her in 2012 on social media. He denied having sex with her and said he had never been to her grandmother's house, Joseph said.

According to the police report, Rivera told police about the encounter with the principal at the girl's school and said that the girl had told him that she was 16 years old.

He said about the same time, the girl's mother had contacted him on his cellular telephone and told him that she was 14 years old and he should stop talking to her and at that point he told the girl that they can only be friends, according to police.

Joseph said Rivera told police that he never exchanged pictures or videos with the girl. When Joseph showed him the sexual video from the girl's phone, Rivera admitted that it was him but said he did not send it to her. He said he had sent the video to an 18 year old woman that he knows and the woman may have shared the picture, according to Joseph.

During Rivera's advice-of-rights hearing Friday, Assistant Public Defender Venetia Velasquez told the court that his family had no financial resources to meet the $75,000 bail.

Assistant Attorney General Zulema Chapman objected, asking the court to insist that at least 10 percent of the bail is secured. She said Rivera has a prior conviction and currently is on an extended probation because he did not comply with probation requirements and has outstanding court fees.

Camacho said he would release Rivera on house arrest with the use of a GPS monitoring system if Rivera is able to post 10 percent of the bail.

"He has a prior conviction on a serious charge and he is facing up to life in prison and could be considered a habitual offender," Camacho said. "That gives me great concern, because that exposure could lead to an attempt to flee."

Rivera was 17 in 2009 when he was sentenced to serve just one year in prison after being convicted of slashing a taxi driver during a robbery attempt.

Rivera was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault and carrying a deadly weapon during the commission of violent crime.

Rivera later accepted a plea deal offered by prosecutors and was allowed to plead guilty to a single charge of first-degree assault and faced up to 15 years in prison.

During the 2009 sentencing, Camacho, who served as Rivera's defense attorney in that case, asked the court for leniency, saying that Rivera was sorry for what he did and had been cooperative with police since the incident occurred.

Arraignment on the rape charges is scheduled for April 30.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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