PORT ANGELES — A Mexican man who has been removed from the country three times was charged with first-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation in Clallam County Superior Court Monday.
Miguel Angel Medel Lopez, 38, remained held in the Clallam County jail Monday in lieu of $100,000 bail. He is also held in jail on a Border Patrol detainer.
“Accused child predator and repeat immigration law violator, Miquel Angel Medel-Lopez, is a citizen of Mexico and in the United States illegally,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Tanya Roman.
Medel Lopez, who lives in Forks, was arrested Wednesday after a nearly year-long investigation that involved Child Protective Services, the National Park Service and the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
The Border Patrol detainer was lodged Friday.
Sheriff Bill Benedict said he honors Border Patrol detainers against criminal aliens — people who had been removed previously.
“Assuming he is found guilty of the rape of a child … he will now be a dangerous felon,” Benedict said.
“I would turn anyone and everyone in that category over to the Border Patrol for deportation after serving a sentence here.”
Investigators have alleged that Lopez raped two children in 2012. At the time they were ages 6 and 8.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson said Monday that though it is believed there are two victims, at this time the two charges relate to one of the victims.
One of the alleged victims told a special agent with the National Park Service that Medel Lopez took both of them to a cabin in the woods before touching them.
The investigation started when one of the alleged victims talked to her mental health worker in January. She confronted him in a recorded conversation, court records say.
“I didn’t force you to do anything,” Medel Lopez said, according to court documents. “It was the way you guys were playing before. With me. It made me do it.”
In that recorded conversation, Medel Lopez said he would “probably” take it back if he could, court records say.
“I don’t want to live with that over my head,” Medel Lopez said, court records say. “I can’t fix the past, but I can probably do better in the future.”
Arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 6.
Medel Lopez was previously arrested by Border Patrol on June 9, 2005, near Lukeville, Ariz., and he returned to Mexico that day, according to Roman.
On June 23, 2005, he again attempted to enter the United States, but was arrested near Sasabe, Ariz., and returned to Mexico.
Then, “on an unknown date,” Medel Lopez entered the U.S. without inspection. On March 23, 2006 he was convicted of assault in Clallam County District Court and sentenced to a year in jail. The Clallam County jail turned him over to ICE March 27, 2006 and he returned to Mexico that April.
In each of these cases he was granted voluntary departure.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].