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Man arrested, accused of groping Santee girl near park

San Diego County sheriff's deputies
Posted at 11:48 AM, May 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-21 00:08:53-04

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) – A 29-year-old man was arrested for allegedly groping a 12-year-old girl near a park in Santee, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Jose Lawrence Ruvalcaba was booked into the San Diego County Central Jail on one count of felony of lewd and lascivious act on a child under 14-years-old with force, the sheriff's department said. His bail held is set at $250,000.

The incident happened just before 4 p.m. Thursday, May 18, near Big Rock Park in the 8100 block of Arlette Street, SDCSD said.

RELATED: Sheriff's department looking for man who groped 12-year-old girl in Santee

A man approached a 12-year-old student from Chett F. Harritt School as she walked toward the park with a friend. Deputies say the man inappropriately touched the girl's chest, and the victim's friend tried to push the suspect off her.

The suspect drove off on a black and gray electric scooter, and he was last seen heading eastbound toward Mesa Road, the sheriff's department said.

After the girl's mother reported the incident to the Santee sheriff's station, the department sent a helicopter over the area to look for the suspect.

On Friday, just before 6:30 p.m., an employee at the Santee Teen Center called the sheriff's department when he saw a man who matched the all-black clothing description of the suspect and his scooter.

Deputies caught up with the suspect near Prospect Avenue and Ellsworth Circle. He matched the description of the suspect captured in surveillance video following the attack.