A 68-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting his 8-year-old step-granddaughter at her San Francisco elementary school last week was arrested Thursday at a homeless shelter after reportedly being harbored by his children and altering his appearance, police said today.
San Francisco police arrested Pedro Hernandez, who allegedly assaulted the girl at Sanchez Elementary School in the Mission District around noon June 3, at a shelter at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in San Bruno Thursday night, police said.
Hernandez is expected to be arraigned Monday morning in San Francisco Superior Court on seven felony counts, according to district attorney’s office spokeswoman Erica Derryck.
The charges include continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years of age or younger, and oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years of age or younger. The last two charges are punishable by life in prison.
Three of Hernandez’s adult children were also arrested Tuesday in connection with the alleged attack on the girl. Prosecutors filed charges against two of the children, but decided not to charge the third.
Marisol Lopez and Jesus Hernandez were arraigned in court this morning in on charges of being an accessory to the crime after the fact, according to Derryck. Both pleaded not guilty and were ordered held on $100,000 bail.
Police spokesman Officer Samson Chan said the children are believed to have helped their father get a motel room in Daly City after the alleged assault.
In addition, Hernandez shaved his moustache and cut his hair short in recent days, Chan said.
“He was actively trying to conceal himself,” Chan said.
An investigation by the Police Department’s Fugitive Recovery Team led police to the homeless shelter.
Following the alleged assault, police issued a $2 million warrant for his arrest and initiated a statewide and international search.
Police do not believe Hernandez was a member of the San Bruno church or that anyone at the shelter knew he was a fugitive, Chan said.
Hernandez has known the girl’s family for several years and has lived with them on and off, according to police.
He had married the girl’s grandmother but they are now separated, Chan said.
According to police, Hernandez arrived at the school to bring lunch to the girl and a female school district employee saw him “being overly affectionate toward the victim” and became suspicious.
The same employee then caught Hernandez allegedly sexually assaulting the girl in a secluded stairwell area inside the school and Hernandez ran away, police said. The woman called police.
Hernandez allegedly assaulted the girl in the stairwell multiple times and the acts were recorded on a video surveillance camera, police said.