ROCKVILLE, Maryland (WJLA) - A distinguished Montgomery County private school is on edge after police arrested a longtime employee on charges of child sex abuse.
Julio Cruz, 58, of Rockville, is accused of inappropriately touching, and in one case, having sexual intercourse with his niece, then just 10-years-old.
According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court, Cruz molested the girl, now 20, on four separate occasions during the summer and fall of 2005. The alleged incidents occurred inside of his home and car.
In one case, Cruz reportedly told the girl she "looked pretty" and added that he wanted to teach her how to "deal with [sexual] urges." In another instance, Cruz allegedly fondled the girl before turning red, crying and asking for forgiveness.
Investigators say Cruz attempted to keep his niece quiet, a strategy that worked for 10 years.
"These are extremely serious crimes, especially when there's a child involved. I think that aspect hits home with a lot of people,” Montgomery County Police Department spokeswoman Ofc. Nicole Gamard said.
In a letter home to parents, Head of School, Rabbi Mitchel Malkus wrote, "Given the nature of the charges, we felt it was important to make you aware of the situation and the actions the school has taken... [We] immediately suspended Mr. Cruz. He has not been on campus since his arrest and he is no longer permitted on campus."
ABC 7 News visited Cruz's home along the 4800 block of Boiling Brook Parkway. When asked if he inappropriately touched his niece, the 58-year-old shook his head and said, "You want to know, you call my lawyer."
Detectives attempted to interview Cruz at police headquarters, but he invoked his constitutional right to a lawyer, which police say they respected.
"We don't go filing charges just because we feel like it, there has to be very strong evidence for us to file," Ofc. Gamard added. "Mr. Cruz will have his day in court where he can try and prove his innocence."
Although the current allegations of child sex abuse did not happen on CESJDS property, nor did they involve any school children, police are urging any other potential victims to come forward.