Utah Church Missionary Arrested on Charges of Raping Girl, Fired by Church

Abraham Isaac Cruz Hernandez
Abraham Isaac Cruz Hernandez Floodlit.org

A 19-year-old missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested Saturday in Saratoga Springs on suspicion of rape.

The man, identified as Abraham Isaac Cruz Hernandez, of California, was serving a Latter-day Saint mission in Utah. He is accused of rape, forcible sodomy and sexual battery, according to Utah County jail records.

Hernandez Told Cops He was Making Out with the Victim in Her Garage and Later Had Sex but Victim Claims She was Forced into it

He was arrested after police were called to a Saratoga Springs home Saturday, where a witness told investigators the man sexually assaulted the witness's sister in a garage. The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not name defendants unless they have been formally charged with a crime.

The 19-year-old told police that he and the alleged victim, whose age was not released, were "making out" in the garage of her home and "eventually had sex," according to a probable cause statement explaining his arrest. He declined to answer further questions, the document states.

The man was living across the street from the alleged victim's home. She told police she was in the garage with the man when he grabbed her and began kissing her, to which she said she "originally consented."

But when she told him to stop, he did not, proceeding to assault her, she told police. As he was allegedly assaulting her, friends came into the garage and told him to stop, a witness said.

Church Issues Statement, Says Hernandez 'Immediately Removed' from Service

According to a statement from the church, the 19-year-old was "immediately removed from his volunteer missionary service" following his arrest. The church issued the following statement:

"This individual was immediately removed from his volunteer missionary service as soon as the Church learned of these very serious and troubling allegations. The Church is cooperating fully with law enforcement in this investigation. Missionaries are expected to abide by the highest standards, and those who do not will be released and sent home, and in situations involving criminal allegations, also face loss of Church membership.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the man remained held in Utah County jail without the option of bail.