Undocumented immigrant accused of raping, impregnating non-verbal Montgomery County girl
KENSINGTON, Md. (ABC7) — An undocumented immigrant is accused of raping a 13-year-old non-verbal girl at her home, but the suspect’s defense attorney claims police arrested the wrong man.
Reynaldo Mora, 41, of Bethesda, is currently charged with sex abuse of a minor, plus two counts of second-degree rape.
In February, the victim's family asked Mora to babysit the special needs girl, and her two siblings, at their Kensington home. During that visit, Mora allegedly forced the victim to have sexual intercourse with him in a bedroom.
Police note the victim is only able to communicate with "gestures and writing" and has the "intellect of a first grader."
In mid-April, the victim took an in-home pregnancy test, which came back positive. Her aunt brought her to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville for further testing. Medical staff confirmed she was 11-weeks pregnant at that time. The victim would later tell investigators that Mora was the father of the unborn child.
Authorities arrested Mora on April 19. A Montgomery County District Court Judge denied his bond. Mora consequently spent the next seven weeks at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg.
But in late May, Mora's defense attorney, Jose Campos, filed a "motion to reconsider bond." The document listed 14 arguments as to why a judge should allow the 41-year-old’s release from jail while he awaits trial. Campos underscored that his client has no prior criminal record, is willing to surrender his passport and needs to provide $1,000 a month in child support.
“Being detained will not allow him to work and provide for his family and will hinder him to present a proper defense,” Campos wrote in the two-page legal filing. "Counsel is willing to safely keep Mr. Mora's passport under a locked cabinet in Counsel's office until the court no longer has this requirement.”
Campos also noted Mora's boss is willing to house the accused child rapist at an apartment in Rockville. That boss has a three-year-old child of his own, Campos stated.
During a second bond review hearing on June 1, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Steven Salant granted Mora a personal recognizance bond, which would have allowed the 41-year-old to walk out of jail without putting down money or property, court records show. Judge Salant’s decision went against the wishes of the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.
However, because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had already filed a detainer, Montgomery County authorities surrendered Mora to federal agents on June 6. ICE confirmed Mora is an undocumented immigrant, but did not share specifics as to how or when he first entered the country.
According to court documents, Mora was born in Mexico. He is separated from his wife and has three young children, ages three, 10 and 13. He had been working up to 60 hours a week as a full-time cook at a Mexican-cuisine restaurant, which has locations in both downtown Bethesda and the Park Potomac development.
Speaking by telephone, Campos told ABC7 that his client is innocent. Campos explained that he plans to take the criminal case to trial if need be.
"I think some evidence will show something else," Campos stated, suggesting another person is responsible for impregnating the disabled 13-year-old girl.
Authorities did perform a paternity test, but those results are still pending. It could take up to 90 days to generate results.
“He willingly submitted to a DNA test and he is hopeful that this DNA test is going to clear everything,” Campos added.
Mora is currently scheduled for a three-day trial in October in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He faces up to 60 years in prison. ICE says it customarily coordinates with local jurisdictions to transport criminal defendants to and from their various court hearings.