Two-time NJ child predator strikes again — at grocery store, cops say
GARFIELD — A Bergen County man is in custody after a boy reported that the man touched his buttocks and masturbated in front of him at a grocery store.
The accusation against Hector Santos Jr. comes just eight months after being released from the state's facility for sex offenders — the second time he has been freed after a sex-crime conviciton.
Police were called to the store on Tuesday, according to Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo. After the incident was investigated, police arrested the 41-year-old.
Santos was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault by sexual contact and one count of third degree endangering the welfare of a child. He was scheduled for an initial court hearing on Wednesday.
Prosecutors did not publicly identify which store this happened.
According to the state registry of child predators, Santos is listed as Tier 3 — repetitive compulsive. The listing says he is currently incarcerated, but does not have information on his legal past. State court records show that in 2009 he pleaded guilty to third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to serve six years at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel with three years of parole ineligibility.
In 2014, he again pleaded guilty to third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to five years at the Avenel facility for sex offender.
According to the Department of Corrections website, he was most recently released from custody in October. The Bergen Record reported the most recent charges came after he was accused of exposing himself to a 13-year-old girl in Clifton.
This is not the first time a child has reportedly been touched inappropriately in a store. Last year police charged a 31-year-old man with following a 4-year-old around a store in Somerset County and sexually molesting the child while the parents were distracted. Witnesses told police that David Lutz touched the child "in a sexual nature, specifically by grabbing the child's buttocks."
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