Washington man accused of hiding for a month in bedroom of 12-year-old Oregon girl, sexually abusing her

Washington man accused of hiding for a month in bedroom of 12-year-old Oregon girl, sexually abusing her

By Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian/OregonLive

A 21-year-old man who met a 12-year-old girl on social media is accused of sexually assaulting her for a month after moving into her bedroom and hiding beneath her bed and in the closet to elude her grandfather.

Zacharias Adrian Cavasos traveled from Washington to Oregon and clandestinely got into the girl’s bedroom, hiding in a cavity under the bed after removing slats that hold the mattress, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Martin said. He also sometimes hid in her bedroom closet, the prosecutor said.

He’s now charged with sexual abuse of a minor in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The charge is filed in federal court because the alleged offense occurred on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, according to prosecutors.

On Wednesday, Cavasos’ defense lawyer, Thomas Price, convinced a judge to release his client from custody to a clean-and-sober house in Aloha under GPS monitoring and a curfew. The house is called “Free on the Outside.’’

U.S. Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You said she was disturbed by the allegations and described her decision as a very close call.

Cavasos was arrested March 11 in the girl’s bedroom.

He first contacted the girl via social media in December and traveled from Washington state to meet her in early February after telling her to find him at the Wildhorse Resort and Casino, according to court records.

He moved into her room on Feb. 10, according to prosecutors. The girl’s grandfather first spotted him in the home on Feb. 25, told him to get out and leave the girl alone. But Cavasos sneaked back onto the property, returned to the girl’s room and stayed there until he was discovered March 11, according to Martin.

After his arrest, he admitted he had stayed in the girl’s bedroom and had sex with her on multiple occasions, the prosecutor wrote in a court filing.

Martin argued to keep the 21-year-old locked up while he awaits trial, saying he has no family ties in the area, no job and returned to the girl’s house even after he was told to stay away.

He had communicated with the girl previously on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and through text messaging, Martin said.

“I’m troubled by the allegation that despite knowing the victim’s age and the fact that he was not to return to that residence, he went back and further allegedly engaged in the same criminal conduct,’’ the judge said. “When I started reading the nature of the allegations, I really was quite surprised by what I read, I have never been aware of anyone alleged to have been living in a 12-year-old’s bedroom for a month.’’

Price argued that Cavasos may have an intellectual disability and is emotionally immature. Cavasos has no prior criminal record and the allegation didn’t contend Cavasos was violent, he said.

Price also suggested that Cavasos may have considered the encounter an inappropriate romantic relationship.

Martin said she objected “to any characterization of the interaction between a 20-year-old and a 12-year-old as any type of consensual sexual or romantic relationship. That’s not remotely possible since the victim can’t legally provide consent.’’

Before agreeing to his release, the judge ordered that Cavasos’ phone and computer be monitored and that he have no contact with the girl or travel to Umatilla County.

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