Riverbank man accused of rape appears in Merced court
A Riverbank man is accused of raping a teenage girl in Merced after she met him on an online dating app and agreed to exchange sex for cash, according to police reports.
Dominic Arauza Madueño, 23, also faces felony charges involving women in two unrelated Stanislaus County criminal cases. Madueño is accused of attacking a woman at an Oakdale massage parlor in early May, and of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in June 2018.
Madueño, who is being held at the Merced County Jail on $1 million bail, appeared in court Tuesday morning for a pre-preliminary hearing. In his first court appearance June 6, Madueño pleaded not guilty to the charges in the sexual assault case. On Tuesday, a bail review hearing was set for July 22.
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office has charged Madueño with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, assault with the intent to commit sexual assault, committing a lewd act upon a child and three counts of oral copulation with a person younger than 16 years old,
The defendant is the eldest son of Virginia Madueño, a former Riverbank mayor and councilwoman. She owns and operates a public relations firm and ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives before losing in last year’s primary election. She also owns and operates a tile company in Turlock, where Dominic Madueño was arrested.
In response to the charges her son faces in Merced County, the ex-mayor’s family on Friday released a statement through her son’s attorney, Kirk McAllister.
“As any parent can understand, the Madueños are focusing on the needs of their family and son in this difficult time,” McAllister said. He added, “These are allegations from many months ago, which have just surfaced now. Dominic Madueño is presumed innocent, and we ask that judgment be withheld until a defense investigation discovers the real facts.”
Sexual assault investigation in Merced
Police began investigating the alleged sexual assault on 4 a.m. Dec. 23, when an officer was called to Mercy Medical Center in Merced to investigate a possible rape.
At the hospital, the officer met with a 13-year-old girl, who initially told him that she and her friend met up with a guy named “James” that her friend knew and the friend wanted to steal money from him. She said that the three got into an argument and “James” dragged her to a park bathroom and coerced her into performing oral sex.
But the girl ultimately admitted that she made up the friend to appease her mother, and said she met “James” through an app on her phone and arranged to meet him to exchange sexual acts for money. The two met three times but he never paid her, the girl said. So she told “James” she didn’t want to see him again.
In December, “James” contacted the girl on another social media app, and agreed to pay her for the previous sexual acts, the girl said. They drove to Applegate Park near the center of town. She refused to perform any other sexual acts until he paid her. But “James” assaulted her and then dragged her to a restroom, where he raped her, she said.
Detective Cruz Jasso, who was assigned to investigate the case, said DNA tests conducted by the state Department of Justice connected Dominic Madueño to the case.
The detective wrote in his report that another source of DNA was found on the girl. The girl told the detective she had sex with her then boyfriend about two hours before she was raped, but she refused to provide her boyfriend’s name.
On May 31, the girl viewed a photo lineup and “positively identified Dominic Arauza Madueño as the person who raped her, and she was 100 percent certain,” the police report says.
When the girl then told Jasso about her encounters with “James,” it was slightly different from what she told the officer a few months earlier. She said they met twice, and she smoked marijuana and had sex with him during the first meeting. They agreed he would pay her $1,300 for the sex, but he never paid her, according to Jasso.
The girl told the detective that “James” asked how old she was moments after they had sex in May 2018. She said she told “James” she was 13, but she was actually 12 years old at the time.
On June 3, Stanislaus County sheriff’s officials arrested Madueño in connection with the Merced County sexual assault charges.
Alleged attack in Oakdale
When Madueño was handed over to Merced police, he was already out on bail in the two unrelated Stanislaus County criminal cases.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office has charged Madueño with attempted second-degree murder in the alleged attack on the woman May 1 in Oakdale. The defendant’s attorney said they will fight these allegations.
“We’re investigating that case and we’re confident that the evidence will show that Mr. Madueño will be found not guilty,” McAllister told The Bee.
Oakdale police Lt. Jerry Ramar said Madueño was arrested at the scene shortly after officers responded to the incident at a business in the 100 block of California Avenue. He said no weapon was brandished or used in the incident, and Madueño and the woman did not know each other.
Ramar declined to discuss details of the assault, citing the ongoing investigation. But the Merced police report detailing Madueño’s June 3 arrest notes that Madueño was arrested May 1 in Oakdale on suspicion of beating up a woman with the intent to sexually assault her at a massage parlor.
The court granted a restraining order for the alleged victim in the attempted murder case.
Madueño has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charge.
In the other Stanislaus County case, Madueño has been charged with misdemeanor battery of his ex-girlfriend and felony vandalism in a June 22, 2018, incident. Prosecutors allege Madueño damaged a car window, according to the filed criminal complaint. He has pleaded not guilty, according to court records.
Judge Shawn Bessey has scheduled preliminary hearings Sept. 30 for the two Stanislaus County cases to determine whether there’s enough evidence for Madueño to stand trial.
Merced Sun-Star Staff Writers Vikaas Shanker and Andrew Kuhn contributed to this news report.