A Bethlehem man accused of forcing himself on an underage girl for about two years allegedly defended his actions by arguing the teen sometimes grabbed him, according to police.
Authorities charged Harry Fernandez-Vazquez with indecent sexual assault and child endangerment in connection with the alleged assaults that occurred between October 2017 and last weekend. District Judge Nicholas Englesson arraigned the 33-year-old Tuesday morning, setting bail at $500,000.
Bethlehem police responded to St. Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill on Monday to investigate a sexual assault report. The teenage victim told authorities that Fernandez-Vazquez allegedly sexually assaulted her a day earlier in his Bethlehem home, according to court records.
The alleged assault was interrupted when someone else in the house approached. Police said the victim is known to Fernandez-Vazquez.
During a follow-up interview with a child advocate, the victim said she first had sex with Fernandez-Vazquez in October 2017, when she was 14 years old, according to records. She reported that he allegedly told her not to tell anyone what had happened. She alleged that he also sexually assaulted her in his car.
Fernandez-Vazquez appeared at police headquarters to speak with investigators but declined to talk with police without his attorney present.
In an interview with police, Fernandez-Vazquez's wife told investigators that the victim told someone that he would harass her. He allegedly told his wife that he never forced the victim to do anything and that she would sometimes grab him.
Police charged Fernandez-Vazquez with single felony counts of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person younger than 16, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and child endangerment along with a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person younger than 16.
He failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 27.