On August 11, 2019 Mesa Police responded to a sexual assault call at the Relaxing Massage located at 2702 E University in Mesa. Responding Officers learned the defendant (later identified as Gilbert Anthony Lerma, age 19, had insinuated he wanted a massage and while being alone with the victim, pulled out a hand gun and threatened her.
Lerma began to sexually assault the victim causing her to scream as a witness entered the room. Lerma attempted to flee but left his car keys in the building. At that moment Lerma called 911 to report he was a victim of theft from the business.
Responding officers quickly assessed Lerma’s story was not adding up and located the handgun which had been thrown in a nearby trash can. Lerma was arrested and interviewed and ultimately admitted to this crime. During the investigation detectives identified Lerma as being related to two other similar incidents. One occurred on July 4, 2019 at the Asian Star Massage located at 857 N Country Club. In that incident Lerma used a handgun while sexually assaulting a victim and then stealing money. He was interviewed about this and admitted to being involved.
The third known incident occurred on February 5, 2019 when Lerma approached a female victim at the bus stop at Horne and Southern. He used a handgun to coerce her to get into his vehicle and proceeded to drive to the area of 4500 E Caballero in Mesa near his home. During the drive Lerma sexually abused the victim and when he arrived at his residence, he told her to go inside his house. She refused and ultimately ran to a neighbor asking for help. Officers responded and interviewed the victim and were told what happened. Lerma was contacted and told officers the victim had willingly entered his vehicle asking for a ride. He said she was flirting with him and there was consensual sexual contact in his vehicle. Lerma said he stopped at his home to change and while there, she stole money from his wallet and attempted to flee. He said he chased her causing her to go to a neighbor and call police. The investigating detective was unable to locate surveillance footage or any corroborating evidence to prove or disprove the allegation at that time and the case was inactivated.
As a result of the totality of all three cases, Lerma has been charged with the following:
August 11th Incident (Mesa PD DR 20192230393) – 2 counts of sexual assault (13-1406.A), 1 count of kidnapping (13-1304.A3), 1 count of disorderly conduct (13-2904.A6 – reckless display of a deadly weapon), 1 count of endangerment (13-1201.A – for discarding the loaded handgun in a public area), and 1 count of misconduct involving weapons (13-3102.A1a).
July 4th Incident (Mesa PD DR 20191850393) – 2 counts of sexual assault (13-1406.A), 1 count of kidnapping (13-1304.A3), 1 count of armed robbery (13-1904.A1), 1 count of misconduct involving weapons (13-02.A1a).
February 5th Incident (Mesa PD DR 20190360336) – 2 counts of sexual abuse (13-1404.A), 1 count of kidnapping (13-1304.A3), and 1 count of misconduct involving weapons (13-3102.A1a).