Man from Mexico charged with rape of teen

Lance Wheeler for Columbia-Greene MediaJuan Diego Cruz appears in Columbia County Court on Monday to answer child rape charges.

HUDSON — A man from Mexico charged with rape of a teenager was arrested the same day as his wife as part an investigation into two separate alleged crimes, according to the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.

Juan Diego Cruz, 24, of Mexico, was arraigned Monday in Columbia County Court on charges of first-degree rape, a class B felony; second degree rape, a class D felony; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, according to a statement from the DA’s office.

Cruz allegedly forced a child less than 15 into sexual intercourse between July and August 2019 in the village of Chatham, according to the indictment handed down in Columbia County Court on Monday. It’s unclear why Cruz was in the country.

The investigation is being handled by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. The Register-Star does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

Cruz’s wife, Itzel Rivera, 20, of California, was charged with third-degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.

Rivera is alleged to have committed the second of the two child endangerment offenses and the assault in September, and the first child endangerment offense in June. The two were indicted by Columbia County Grand Jury on Friday before their arrests. County Court Judge Richard Koweek unsealed the indictments.

Although they were arraigned on the same day minutes apart, the two are not co-defendants and will be charged separately as part of two separate alleged incidents, according to a statement from the DA’s office.

Cruz is remanded without bail pending a review on Friday at 10:30 a.m. in Columbia County Court. Rivera was released on her own recognizance.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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