Thursday, April 19, 2018
Public safety

Homeless man linked to Halloween sexual assault from two years ago, St. Petersburg police say

ST. PETERSBURG — A DNA test has linked a 21-year-old man to the rape of a young girl on Halloween night two years ago, police said.

Samuel James Morales, who is listed as a transient, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Monday on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery.

Morales is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in the city Oct. 31, 2010, according to an arrest affidavit. On that date, officers found the young girl intoxicated at a convenience store, police spokesman Mike Puetz said. The girl didn't mention an assault, and was returned to her parents.

Two days later, the family reported the assault. Puetz said reports about the incident indicate the girl admitted to partying with Morales, who was then 19.

She said he had given her drugs and alcohol, and that she had passed out. When she woke, she thought something sexual occurred, but wasn't sure what.

Initial items of evidence police submitted for DNA evidence came back negative, Puetz said. But a lab did find Morales' sperm on the girl's underwear, according to an arrest affidavit.

It was unclear Tuesday why there was such a gap between the incident and Morales' arrest. Morales has been arrested a handful of time in the past couple years, records show, accused of crimes including stalking and criminal mischief.

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