BOSTON, Sept. 23, 2013—An East Boston man was held on high bail today on charges that he sexually assaulted a pre-teen girl earlier this month, and investigators are exploring a possible link to other similar offenses, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
JOSE AVILA (D.O.B. 6/1/74) was arraigned on one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 for the Sept. 8 incident on Faywood Avenue. Assistant District Attorney Ellen Lemire of the DA’s Child Protection Unit recommended that he be held on $100,000 cash bail and that Avila be confined to house arrest and wear a GPS monitoring device if he posts that amount. Judge Roberto Ronquillo, Jr., imposed $30,000, granted her recommended conditions of release, and further ordered that Avila stay away from all children under 17 except his own child.
Ronquillo also granted a protective order sought by Lemire that keeps the victim’s name and identifying information out of public view.
Lemire told the court that the young victim was playing outside with friends with neighborhood children on the afternoon of Sept. 8 when a member of her family told her to come inside. As she gathered up her toys, she lost her grip on a toy brush that blew into the street. The girl went to pick up the brush, Lemire said, but stopped because a car was coming. The girl waited for the dark-colored sedan to pass, she said, but instead it stopped.
A man exited the car, picked up the brush, and gave it to the girl, Lemire said. As he did so, the man sexually assaulted her. The incident was witnessed by children in the area and a neighbor who happened to be looking out the window of a nearby upper-floor apartment. That neighbor shouted at the man to leave the girl alone. The neighbor then came downstairs to the scene. The girl, who was visibly upset by the incident, gave an account consistent with those of others in the area.
Witnesses told responding Boston Police that they had seen the assailant in the neighborhood before but did not know his name. Based on interviews and other evidence, detectives on Saturday provided the adult witness with a photo array from which he positively identified Avila, prosecutors said.
Investigators are looking into potential connections among the Sept. 8 incident with other, similar assaults in East Boston. At this time, however, Avila has been charged only in connection with the Faywood Avenue assault.
Sexual assault can happen to any person of any age. While the victims of any crime are asked to call 911 in an emergency, the survivors of sexual violence in Suffolk County can also call the The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline at 800-841-8371. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center provides medical advocacy, legal services, counseling, and other services to victims of rape and sexual assault.
Avila was represented today by attorney Kelly Cusack. He will return to court on Oct. 16.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.