IDAHO FALLS — Police arrested an Idaho Falls man after he allegedly admitted to sexually abusing a child for years.
Juan Melchor Hernandez, 55, is charged with felony lewd conduct. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Hernandez began abusing a then 5-year-old girl in 2014 while he babysat her.
The victim reported the alleged abuse in August and, during a forensic interview, disclosed that Hernandez would touch her inappropriately while other children were around, according to court documents. Hernandez also would touch her while she bathed.
Court documents show the alleged abuse frequently happened until 2016, when the victim and Hernandez were in a car crash. Officers say the crash caused Hernandez to come to the realization he was a “bad person” because of the abuse. While the alleged molestation happened “daily” before the crash, the victim said it only happened every once in a while afterward.
Investigators spoke with Hernandez, who said he told the victim he would never touch her again, according to court documents. During the interview, Hernandez described how he molested the victim and said he must have done it for sexual gratification because he was “crazy.”
During the interview, Hernandez also admitted to molesting two young girls while they slept some 20 years ago in California, according to court documents.
“Juan said that he feels bad now because he is going to church,” an officer writes in the probable cause.
Hernandez remains held in the Bonneville County Jail on $25,000 bail. If convicted of felony lewd conduct, he could be ordered to spend up to life in prison.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14 at the Bonneville County Courthouse.