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GRANVILLE -- An illegal immigrant from Mexico who has been deported at least three times was arrested Saturday for allegedly sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl, police said.

Ricardo Martinez-Gomez, 24, was charged with first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, after an investigation by Granville Police that led to Martinez-Gomez's arrest in New York City, where he had fled after allegedly molesting the girl.

The victim told police she was sexually assaulted while staying overnight at an 8-year-old friend's home. That friend's mother had been dating Martinez-Gomez, Granville Police Sgt. David Williams said. That woman may face criminal charges for her actions in the case, Williams said.

Williams said the girls and Martinez-Gomez were watching television in a living room at the 34 Irving Ave. home where the defendant had been staying when the alleged sexual assault happened Friday night between 11 p.m. and midnight.

The victim told her friend, who told the friend's mother.

However, instead of calling police or the victim's mother, the friend's mother contacted a relative of Martinez-Gomez, who picked him up and took him out of the area to Stillwater, Williams said.

The victim told her mother when her mother picked her up Saturday morning, and the mother contacted police.

Granville Police knew the suspect as Gerardo Cruz, and it wasn't until Saturday afternoon that police learned his true name, Williams said.

By that time, though, Martinez-Gomez had gotten on a bus in Albany and was headed to New York City, Williams said.

Granville Police and State Police were able to get word to the Port Authority Police to look for him, but the bus had already unloaded its passengers by the time police learned where he was headed, Williams said.

Shortly after 4 p.m. though, a sharp-eyed Port Authority Police detective spotted a man matching the description, and despite the fact that Martinez-Gomez gave him the fake name of Gerardo Cruz, determined who he was and arrested him, police said.

Granville Police brought him back from New York City and had him arraigned before Granville Village Justice Roger Forando, who sent him to Washington County Jail for lack of $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond.

Police were looking into whether Martinez-Gomez's girlfriend should be charged with endangering the welfare of a child for her alleged actions. They believe the girlfriend also may have known Martinez-Gomez's real name, but withheld that from police.

"The girl did what she was supposed to and immediately disclosed (the alleged abuse)," the sergeant said. "His girlfriend didn't call the girl's mother or contact police."

Martinez-Gomez has been deported from the U.S. three times between 2003 and 2007, all for a variety of criminal arrests in Cohoes, Bethlehem and Selkirk, officials said. He also has been arrested numerous times in Washington County under the Cruz name, for which he had a variety of fake documents including a resident alien card and Social Security card, Williams said.

Charges are likely for those fake documents as well, police said.

The girl's mother, whose name is being withheld so as not to identify her daughter, said her daughter was handling the trauma well but had been scared at night the last few days.

She did not understand how Martinez-Gomez could be in the U.S. after so many deportations.

Because of the possibility of additional victims, police are looking to speak to anyone whose children might have been in contact with Martinez-Gomez.

"A lot of my daughter's friends have been in that house," the victim's mother said.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call 642-1414.

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