Man Who Sexually Assaulted Young Child in Desert Hot Springs Sentenced

Man Who Sexually Assaulted Young Child in Desert Hot Springs Sentenced

Martín Di Felice

UPDATE:  A man who sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl in Desert Hot Springs has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Angel Lua, 22, of Mecca, was convicted in October of assaulting the girl, along with a burglary charge.

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A Mecca man in custody on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in Desert Hot Springs and attempting another assault less than a mile from the first pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges today.

Angel Lua, 20, was arrested Wednesday in North Shore for allegedly breaking into a home just before midnight June 10 in the 67000 block of Two Bunch Palms Trail.

Desert Hot Springs police Detective Christopher Tooth said a man entered the home, sexually assaulted the girl, then fled before officers arrived, but “forensic evidence from the crime scene” identified Lua as the suspect. An arrest warrant declaration alleges that Lua entered the home through an unlocked window, upon which police were able to lift his fingerprints.

He was also later identified as a suspect in a second attempted assault on June 25 in the 13000 block of Verbena Drive, just north of the Two Bunch Palms Trail home. A warrant was obtained for his arrest Wednesday, accusing Lua of lewd acts with a child under 14, engaging in oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child under 10, sexual penetration with a foreign object, burglary and attempted burglary.

According to court records, Lua is also a suspect in multiple indecent exposure incidents involving a child in Mecca. The alleged incidents occurred in March and April of 2016. According to an arrest warrant declaration, a young girl told deputies Lua exposed himself to her on three separate occasions, resulting in misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and child annoyance also filed against him.

He was arrested last year in connection with the alleged indecent exposures but was apparently released with a citation. He was ordered to return to court last December for an arraignment but never showed up, leading a judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

Lua also pleaded guilty in May 2016 to a misdemeanor count of peeking into an inhabited building, which occurred at an Indio apartment complex. He was sentenced to three years probation in that case. Lua, who will return to court July 12 for a felony settlement conference, is being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $2 million bail, according to jail records.