A maintenance worker at the Palisades Park public library was charged with statutory rape for having sex with an underage girl, authorities said Wednesday.
Mario Esau Simon Martinez, 21, remained held in the Bergen County Jail pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Palisades Park police “received information that [Martinez] engaged in sexual relations with a juvenile under the age of 16,” Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.
Police, in turn, notified Musella’s Special Victims Unit, the prosecutor said.
Detectives arrested Martinez on Monday and charged him with sexual assault and child endangerment.
Under New Jersey state law, statutory rape occurs when one of the partners is between 13 and 16 and the other is at least four years older.
SEE: It's Still Rape
Those adults who claim “she/he looked 18″ — or said the victim showed a fake ID — have no defense, under what is known as the standard of strict liability. An adult also can’t claim that he or she was seduced.
If convicted, an adult faces up to 10 years in prison if the youngster was between 13 and 16. Penalties are much more severe if the child is younger than that.
Convicted adults also must register as Megan’s Law offenders, with lifetime parole.
Defendants in statutory rape cases also can be sued in civil court for personal injury.
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