Payson Man Charged With Sex Assault

Reportedly groped 12-year-old who was staying at friend’s house

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A 39-year-old Payson man faces child molestation charges after allegedly assaulting a 12-year-old in her sleep earlier this month.

The girl was staying at a friend’s home off South Ridgeway Street July 8 when the man, a roommate at the home, allegedly groped the girl, laid on top of her and licked her.

The girl’s stepfather reported the incident to police hours after the girl returned home and explained what had happened.

The girl was reportedly sleeping in a room when the man began to fondle her breasts. The man stopped when the girl got up and went to the bathroom. When she lay back down and tried to sleep, the man got on top of her, licking on or near her privates until the girl pretended to wake up again. At this point, the man left the room, said Police Chief Don Engler.

The Roundup’s policy is to not publish the names of suspects in sexual assault cases prior to a conviction.

An initial investigation did not indicate the man had intercourse with the girl, according to the police report.

The girl was taken to Phoenix for a detailed, forensic interview; meanwhile Payson police detectives questioned the suspect.

The man initially denied any wrongdoing, saying the girl had come on to him, grabbing his hand and putting it down her pants, according to Det. Mike Varga’s report.

Varga noted the man blamed the victim.

“That is not uncommon behavior, for them to blame the victim, that the victim had come on to them,” Engler said.

Varga noted in the report he constructed a ruse, telling the man he already had DNA results that showed the man’s saliva was found on the girl’s stomach.

“The detective was not necessarily lying to him because it is very possible that it is there, but he made it sound more like we already knew,” Engler said.

The man then allegedly admitted to Varga he had licked the girl, but then requested an attorney.

The man also told Varga he had been molested as a child.

Two other people were sleeping in the room at the time of the alleged abuse, but neither reported seeing anything except for the girl getting up to use the restroom.

The police department is still waiting on lab results.

A grand jury indicted the man July 11 on charges of child molestation, sexual abuse and sexual conduct with a minor.

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