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Man charged with sexual molestation

Police have accused a man of providing alcohol to two vacationing 13-year-old girls, then molesting one and forcing sex on the other on Clearwater Beach.

Jose D. Cruz, 22, of 219 S Gulfview Blvd. was arrested on charges of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation. He was held at the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $40,000 bail.

Cruz met the girls on the beach last weekend. The girls are from Sarasota but were staying at the Adam's Mark Hotel on Clearwater Beach with family.

On Saturday night, Cruz met with the girls again and gave them alcohol. He touched one of the girl's breasts, then had sex with the other girl while she was almost passed out, police said.

The girls returned to Sarasota and told their parents, who called police. Clearwater police Detectives Gayle Gallon and Roberto Felici traveled to Sarasota to interview the girls, who provided a detailed description of their assailant, Gallon said.

The detectives returned to Clearwater and drove to the site on the beach where the crime occurred. As they returned to the police station, they saw Cruz at Cleveland Street and Fort Harrison Avenue. They took him to police headquarters, where he admitted to the crimes, Gallon said.

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