State Police arrested an immigrant from Mexico who was in the U.S. illegally for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl early Wednesday.
Police said the man had been detained last fall for illegally overstaying a visa, but was not deported.
The investigation and arrest led to the arrest of several other immigrants who were working at the same farm as the suspect and were also living in the country illegally, authorities said.
Ricardo Barajas-Suarez, 33, was charged with a first-degree criminal sexual act, a felony, after an investigation by State Police from the Greenwich station.
Barajas-Suarez was working at a farm in southern Washington County and was accused of forcing the teen to have sexual contact early Wednesday at a home off the farm property where he had been staying, police said.
State Police were called after the girl, with whom the defendant was acquainted, ran from her room screaming about the attack, authorities said. She suffered no other physical injuries, police said.
The sexual assault complaint led to a check of other workers at the farm where Barajas-Suarez was working, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took several others into custody. Police said the farm owners were cooperative during the investigation.
Police said Barajas-Suarez had been arrested by ICE agents last November when he was found to have overstayed a work visa, but he was released a short time later because he “did not meet the (federal) administration requirements” for deportation at the time, officials said.
State Police did not identify the farm where Barajas-Suarez or the others who were detained had been working.
He was arraigned in Fort Edward Town Court and sent to Washington County Jail. The criminal charge, which is punishable by up to 25 years in state prison, will be adjudicated before he goes through deportation proceedings.
The investigation by State Police and ICE was continuing Wednesday.