Men accused of assaulting Penn State students in vehicle

mcarroll@centredaily.comMarch 26, 2013 

Two Mexican men face numerous charges after offering two female Penn State students a ride back to their dorm early Saturday morning then forcing the young women to remain in the vehicle and endure an attempted sexual assault.

One of the men, Galdino Salas Aburto, 25, was charged with felony counts of aggravated indecent assault after allegedly grabbing one young woman’s crotch and forcing his hand inside her clothing. Ricardo Cuevas Jimenez, 38, also charged in the case, was driving the pickup truck.

A Penn State police officer on patrol around 4:35 a.m. Saturday saw a woman’s leg hanging out the open door of the moving vehicle and initiated a traffic stop.

The students told police they were at the intersection of South Garner Street and East Beaver Avenue when they were offered a ride back to their residence hall by Aburto and Jimenez.

But instead Jimenez allegedly drove past the hall without slowing down or stopping.

When the young women began yelling at them to stop, Aburto wrapped his arms around one of the students and grabbed the other by the arm, the students told police.

One woman alleged that Aburto put his hand under her dress and tried to grab her genitals. As she screamed and struggled to get away, Aburto allegedly grabbed her arm and groin hard enough to cause discomfort.

Police said in a criminal complaint that the other student was able to get the rear driver’s side door open at the intersection of Pollock and Bigler roads. Jimenez allegedly tried to close the door, but the woman was able to stick her leg outside.

An officer traveling in an unmarked cruiser spotted the vehicle while it was stopped on Pollock Road. A man outside the vehicle got back in and drove away as the officer approached. It was then that police noticed the woman’s leg hanging out the door.

No addresses were listed for Aburto or Jimenez, but police said both men were identified by their Mexican passports.

University Police Chief Tyrone Parham said he believes the men were workers at a local construction site. He said they did not know the young women.

Parham cautioned students against accepting rides from people they don’t know. “It’s never a good idea,” he said.

Both men were charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Aburto faces the additional felony charges. He was placed in the Centre County Correctional Facility after failing to post $100,000 bail. Jimenez was also incarcerated after failing to post $50,000 bail.

Attorneys for the men were not listed on court documents.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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