Cape Coral man accused of molesting Collier County girl

Posted at 6:02 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-14 17:31:22-05

A Cape Coral man is facing molestation and sexual battery charges in Collier County. Ariel Cruz, 37, is accused of sexually abusing a girl under the age of 12 on multiple occasions, at her family's home in Naples.

A redacted report from the Collier County Sheriff's Office does not say how Cruz knows the girl or her family, but indicates that he was spending time at their home this past Christmas when the latest incident is alleged to have happened.

"That is the unfortunate part of child sexual abuse," said Jackie Stevens, CEO of the Children's Advocacy Center of Collier County. "It's usually by somebody that the child knows, loves or's a friend, it's a relative."

According to the report, on December 27, the girl told her father that Cruz had been molesting her after he caught her looking at a pornographic web site, which she said Cruz had put on her phone.

After the family reported the sexual abuse to police, the girl told investigators that it had been going on for about two years, usually in a locked bedroom. 

At Cruz's first court appearance Friday, Judge Mike Carr set his bond at $400,000 - $100,000 each for two charges of lewd and lascivious molestation, and two charges of sexual battery of a victim under 12. The judge also ordered Cruz to have no contact with the victim.

Upon a request from the state prosecutor, the judge ordered Cruz to surrender his passport upon release from jail.