[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 10/06/20]
MASCOTTE, Florida — A Mascotte man is in the Lake County Jail being held on no bond after a woman accused him a raping her while she slept.
Mascotte Police responded to a home on a report of a sexual battery on Sept. 24; the victim, whose clothes were disheveled, was crying and visibly shaken, when police arrived, according to an arrest affidavit.
The woman told police she was “sound asleep” and began having a dream she was having sex with an unknown person but woke up due to physical movement. When she woke up, she was lying on her left side and Hector Bernabe-Espinoza, 34, was raping her, according to the affidavit.
She began yelling at Bernabe-Espinoza to get off her and due to heavy redaction on the affidavit, it is unclear what happened next. The victim left the room and exited the home, the affidavit states. The victim told MPD, that Bernabe-Espinoza had exposed his penis to her on an earlier occasion in Sumter County.
Bernabe-Espinoza was at the home when police arrived, and he told them nothing happened. He said he was sleeping in the room with the victim when she suddenly started screaming, and he did not know why. He then said he was attracted to the victim and tried to have sex with her previously but was unsuccessful, according to the affidavit. He said he only touched her foot, but later changed his story to touching her foot and her thigh. He then added more, “Look I’m not going to lie I did grab her butt while she was sleeping,” the affidavit states. Police advised him evidence was found on the sheets and he said an unknown male had been in the home, and it may have been him, according to the affidavit. He was unable to describe the unknown male.
The victim was transported to a medical facility where she was examined by a forensic nurse who confirmed she was raped. The sheets and the clothes both the victim and the suspect were wearing were collected.
Bernabe-Espinoza was taken into custody and charged with sexual battery.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]