Man accused of sexually assaulting three girls

A Fruita man was arrested Sunday on suspicion he sexually assaulted three young girls over nearly six years.

Jose Elizario Gallegos, 58, 816 E. Ottley Ave., surrendered at Mesa County Jail on a warrant alleging five counts of sexual assault on a child and two counts alleging sexual assault on a child in a pattern of sexual abuse.

Gallegos is being held without bond on the allegations and is expected to make his first court appearance today.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the alleged victims, now ages 11, 9, and 12, told a Grand Junction police detective they were assaulted at two of Gallegos’ former Grand Junction homes.

Gallegos became the focus of an investigation after the mother of one of the girls told police her daughter confided she’d been inappropriately touched on several occasions. The girl’s mother confronted Gallegos within hours of hearing the claims.

“(Woman) said Gallegos acted surprised but didn’t say anything,” the affidavit said.

The girl said she didn’t come forward earlier with the information because she was “scared maybe she had done something wrong,” the affidavit said.

The girl said the assaults started when she was between ages 5 and 7, and outlined for a detective several incidents when Gallegos allegedly touched her in private areas. She initially started going to Gallegos’ home after school, where she was paid to clean, the affidavit said.

She told a detective that Gallegos explained it was “OK” for the girl and her young cousin to inappropriately touch one another, the affidavit said. The girl said this happened five to 10 times at one home.

“He told them ... there was nothing wrong with it,” the affidavit said. “He also told them if they told they would get in trouble.”


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