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Girl, 14, Complains of Stomach Pain, Revealing Pregnancy & Alleged Rape by North Augusta Man

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A North Augusta man was arrested this week on allegations he raped and impregnated a 14-year-old girl.

Martin Cruz-Merino, 37, of Hill Street, North Augusta, was arrested Tuesday for criminal sexual conduct with minor with a victim in the second degree. Bond is set at $20,000, but there is a “ICE Hold” on him for immigration officials.

The victim complained about stomach pain and was taken to the hospital, where her family was informed she was 7 weeks pregnant, according to a sheriff’s report. Her family member asked her how this happened. The girl said she was raped by the suspect over the summer.

The incident was reported to the sheriff’s office on Aug. 9, and an investigation led to Cruz-Merino’s arrest this week.

A person charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree is accused of engaging in sexual battery with a victim who is at least fourteen years of age but who is less than sixteen years of age, and the actor is in a position of “familial, custodial, or official authority to coerce the victim to submit or is older than the victim.”

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Cruz-Merino remained Friday night in the Aiken County Detention Center.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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