GLENDALE, Ariz. - A disturbing story out of Glendale, as police in the West Valley city say a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted at church on Sunday.
For the victim, Sunday was her family's first visit to that church, and the suspect, Arthur Hernandez, was identified right away because he is a member of the congregation. Hernandez, 27, is now behind bars, facing charges of sex assault, sex abuse and sexual conduct with a minor. He has since appeared in front of a judge.
"So, how many years will I have to stay here?" asked Hernandez.
"That's for you and your attorney to discuss," the judge replied.
"OK," said Hernandez.
Police say the attack happened in broad daylight in the church's parking lot. The girl got cold and came outside to the family car, and police say Hernandez followed from behind, put his hand over her mouth and started sexually assaulting her while exposing himself.
A neighbor of Hernandez calls him "awkward and quiet".
"He made somebody feel uncomfortable for sure. I would walk outside and he would just stare. Didn't say much. I mean, it was scary because we have kids," said the person.
The girl managed to squirm free and scream for help. An usher who heard her came outside and scared Hernandez, who ran away while pulling up his pants.
Police say the attack was captured on security cameras.
"For me, my dad's a pastor of a church, and being raised in an environment where you're supposed to feel safe and a part of a community, it's terrifying to hear something like that," said Coral Flores.
Police say the victim suffered more than a dozen injuries. On Tuesday, nobody at the church was willing to talk. As for Hernandez, he is being held on a $200,000 bail.