PALISADES PARK, N.J. – A Guatemalan national who was charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in Palisades Park has been released pending further court action under New Jersey's bail reform law.
A judge on Friday ordered William Lopez Medina, 31, released on his own recognizance, with conditions, after he spent 10 days in the Bergen County Jail, records show.
Medina, a married construction worker, was arrested Aug. 1 after the girl told members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit that he touched her inappropriately, authorities said.
The INS was notified, records show.
Medina is charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault by contact and child endangerment.
Since the beginning of this year, judges in New Jersey have been required to use a "risk assessment tool" to determine whether defendants go free or remain jailed without bail based on the possibility that they:
- will skip court;
- pose a danger to the community;
- try to intimate witnesses or victims.
Other considerations include how old the offender is, whether the crime was violent, past convictions and other pending charges.
"High-risk" offenders are detained. The rest are released with conditions or supervision that police say defendants many have ignored.
ALSO SEE: The population at the Bergen County Jail dropped by nearly 10% the first five months of this year -- and nearly 40% the past two years -- as a result of bail reform laws that have allowed more defendants to remain free before trial, statistics show.
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