NJ man arrested, charged with sex abuse of 13-year-old girl while 8-year-old watched: officials

New Jersey

PATERSON, N.J. — A Paterson man has been arrested and charged with criminal sexual contact and child endangerment involving girls who were just 13 and 8, prosecutors in Passaic County said Thursday.

The arrest comes from an investigation by the county’s SVU after a report from the county’s division of child protection on March 4. Detectives interviewed the two victims and multiple witnesses.

The 13-year-old victim reported being sexually abused by Mario Hernandez, 54, on one occasion at her home in Paterson between October and November of 2020 while the 8-year-old was in the room. The 8-year-old victim also reported witnessing the abuse.

Hernandez was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of child endangerment and one count of criminal sexual contact. He was held at Passaic County Jail until his first court appearance, when he was released with the conditions that he not have any contact with the victims or any children under 18, a surrender of all travel documents and refraining from drug and alcohol use.

If convicted, Hernandez faces anywhere from 18 months to 3-5 years in prison, a lifetime on parole supervision and Megan’s Law registration requirements.

The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office asks anyone with additional information about this incident or other incidents regarding this individual to contact us on our tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO. For media inquiries concerning this case, contact Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa DiSturco of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Major Crimes Division, Special Victims Unit at adisturco@passaiccountynj.org or at (862) 289-2106.

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