UPDATE: Nunez Held on $10,000 Cash Bond
Aunt suspected, probation officer had complaints of forcible relationship
By Brandi Makuski
A 42-year-old Stevens Point man will be in court Monday for charges of felonious sexual assault.
Israel Nunez has been charged with first- and second-degree degree child sex assault after he allegedly began a forcible sexual relationship with a girl when she was 12 years old.
If convicted, he faces up to 106 years in prison and at least $100,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl, now 17, told police in Nov. of 2015 she had been assaulted on several occasions since 2011 by Nunez, who was a friend of the girl’s aunt. The abuse began when the girl was in seventh grade, and occurred both at Nunez’ Pine Ridge Dr. apartment and in her aunt’s van, according to the report.
On some of those occasions, Nunez had guests in his apartment and would lure the girl into his bedroom by saying he needed to speak to her in private. The last instance of abuse, according to the complaint, occurred in Nov. of 2014. The girl told authorities she did not come forward sooner because she was “scared of what might happen”.
In 2013, a friend of the girl’s aunt notified Nunez’ probation officer of the problem, saying the girl’s aunt had told her “the defendant was having a sexual relationship with her 13-year-old niece”. The friend also told the probation officer the aunt would “call the defendant when her nieces would be visiting.”
It was not immediately known what, if any, action the probation officer took upon hearing the claim. There is no statute of limitations for first-degree sexual assault of a child in Wisconsin.
When interviewed by police, the aunt said she remembered a few occasions when Nunez wanted to talk privately with the girl, and she also observed him rubbing her niece’s feet on more than one occasion. Nunez would “pay way more attention to [the girl] than to [the aunt]”, and she suspected there may have been a sexual relationship between the two, according to the complaint.
Police interviewed Nunez, who was in custody for an unrelated charge, in Dec. of 2015. During that interview, Nunez emphatically denied the girl’s claims, saying they were never alone together but would have “heart to heart” talks on the phone and communicate via social media. He also wrote letters to the girl while he was in prison, he said.
The girl’s mother was also interviewed by police, and said she thought it was “odd” Nunez wanted to spend so much time with her daughter.
Nunez appeared in Branch I of Portage Co. Circuit Court on Mar. 7 for his initial appearance. His is being held on $10,000 cash bond.
He returns to court for a preliminary hearing on April 4.