The Utah County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Provo male in Benjamin on Friday for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl twice.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, a Utah County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a suspicious vehicle Friday morning, in which he found a teenage female and 47-year-old Bernardno Gomez, who both appeared to be putting their clothing back on.
The deputy reported to have found the vehicle, a burgundy Jeep Grand Cherokee, parked off the side of Swede Lane in Benjamin.
The deputy made contact with the two occupants and was concerned with the situation, according to the statement. A detective with the Special Victims Unit responded to the scene and interviewed the 15-year-old female. She told the detective she and Gomez had sexual intercourse in the vehicle.
The female reportedly told the detective that Gomez picked her up that morning around 7 at Sam’s Club in Provo after he pulled over and asked if she wanted a ride. The girl said she went with Gomez because he had given her a ride a week earlier.
The female reported she did not know Gomez’ name, and that Gomez drove her out to the location in which they were later found by officers. The statement reports that location is located off a dirt road in a “very unpopulated area of Utah County near Utah Lake,” and that the vehicle was parked in tall grass and “was very hard to see from the road.”
The female told the detective “she did not want to have sex with the male but she was scared to say no.” A used condom was found inside the vehicle, according to the statement.
The girl also told the detective Gomez had picked her up a week earlier on May 22 in Provo near her residence and drove her to the same location that day, and that they had sexual intercourse on that occasion as well. The girl stated she did not want to have sex with Gomez at that time either.
According to the statement, the girl said she never told Gomez her name but did tell him she was 15 years old.
After interviewing the girl, detectives transferred Gomez to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and interviewed him there. Officials notified Gomez of his rights, and Gomez agreed to speak with them.
Gomez reportedly told detectives he had only known the girl for a couple weeks and did not know her name or age, though later in the interview he stated he knew she was “too young.”
Gomez reportedly confirmed he picked the female up from Sam’s Club that morning and drove her to Swede Lane. He admitted to having sex with the girl, but stated the sex was consensual, according to the statement.
He also reportedly told police he had picked up the girl one week prior, drove her to the same location, and had sex with her on that occasion as well.
Officials booked Gomez into Utah County Jail under suspicion of two charges of first-degree rape.
On the scene where Gomez and the girl were initially found, a K9 searched Gomez’ vehicle for drugs, but the probable cause statement did not mention any drugs found, and Gomez was not arrested under suspicion of any drug-related felonies or misdemeanors.
Gomez has no prior arrests recorded in the Utah County Sheriff’s Office database.