Raymond Hernandez allegedly committed three child rapes in a two-week span and was able to walk the streets due to the same judge’s ruling.
Police arrested the 29-year-old man from Questa, New Mexico, on January 14 after he allegedly sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter; he did this after giving alcohol to the child and her friend.
Hernandez had been staying with his girlfriend and her daughters in Peñasco, New Mexico, at the time.
Following the arrest, Judge Ernest Ortega of the Taos Magistrate Court allowed Hernandez to walk free after paying a $10,000 bail bond.
Ortega was also court-ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor — but unfortunately it did not prevent him from committing more crime.
Two days after his release, Hernandez was arrested and charged yet again, this time for allegedly raping a 19-month-old baby girl, who resided in the same house as the 13-year-old he had been accused of sexually assaulting previously.
On January 24, Judge Ortega once again released Hernandez; this time, it was on a $20,000 bond.
However, the same day he was released — yes, it’s true — he then allegedly raped a five-year-old girl who lived next door to the other two girls.
@realDonaldTrump @WhiteHouse This is the kind of crime that occurs in New Mexico, crime that could be avoided if we had JUDGES WHO ACTUALLY PROSECUTED CRIMINALS AND DID NOT LET THEM OUT OF JAIL REPEATEDLY! And judges who don't even have law degrees! https://t.co/rSq6qWNDW6
— Alisha_Cat (@AlishaCat) January 29, 2019
New Mexico…where the justice system is so busy prosecuting drug crimes children are falling through the cracks….its horrible. The Justice system fails them :'( https://t.co/W0ZSYm3Etj
— Nicole Scarpa (@NicoleScarpa2) January 29, 2019
After that latest alleged crime, Hernandez fled to Colorado to avoid another arrest, but he was apprehended this past Sunday in Costilla County, Colorado, and has been detained ever since.
“I’m speechless. He needs to pay and I hope the judge puts him behind bars and keep him there,” neighbor Gloria Lucero told KOB 4.
Hernandez is being held without bail and is set to see a judge later this week.
Taos County Undersheriff Steve Miera said the department has obtained a search warrant to gather a DNA sample from Hernandez in order to connect him to the alleged crimes.
Prior to these arrests, Hernandez had no criminal record in the state of New Mexico.
In 2012, a Taos District Court judge ordered him to fork over more than $7,000 in unpaid child support to the mother of his child, who resides in Colorado.
However, he was not a registered sex offender.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said his department suspects Hernandez may have committed even more offenses. He urged anyone with information on him to contact the Sheriff’s Department.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.