Friday, July 10, 2015
A Hispanic illegal immigrant has been charged with sexually groping two 17-year-old girls on the Fourth of July in a Michigan's Adventure wave pool
Eliazar Rivas-Rodriguez, 29, of Middlebury, Indiana, has been arraigned on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or coercion. The arraignment was conducted through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, according to court records. Muskegon County Chief 60th District Judge Maria Ladas Hoopes set his bond at $80,000 cash or surety and scheduled a probable-cause hearing for July 21, 2015. The crime is a high-court misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of two years in state prison. According to an affidavit for warrantless arrest in Rivas-Rodriguez's court file, he's accused of sexually groping the girls – who didn't know him – on July 4, 2015 while they were in a wave pool at Michigan's Adventure amusement park in Fruitland Township. One of the teens reported the stranger grabbed her in the crotch area once. The other said that he did it three times in succession, then grabbed her by the ankle under the water when she tried to flee. The girl was able to get away and reported the incident to the teens' guardians, according to the affidavit. It was then reported to a lifeguard, then to park security guards. They kept the Latino suspect in sight until a Michigan State Police trooper arrived to investigate. Rivas-Rodriguez, interviewed through an interpreter, denied all the allegations, according to the affidavit. The affidavit described the suspect as an illegal immigrant living for 10 years in the Goshen, Indiana, area. At the end of the court process, whether it results in conviction or not, the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office typically will notify the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service that an illegal immigrant has been charged with a crime, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy M. Maat said. Typically, an illegal immigrant if convicted of the charged crime would serve his sentence, if any, then face deportation to his home country, Maat said.