Man Investigated For Molestation In New Mexico Now Jailed On New Charges In Arizona

Juan Manuel Medina [Photo courtesy Cochise County Sheriff's Office]

A Douglas man previously investigated in New Mexico for molesting a 7-year-old girl in 2014 is sitting in the Cochise County jail on charges he sexually abused the same girl between 2019 and 2021 after moving to Arizona.

Juan Manuel Medina was indicted by a Cochise County grand jury last month on two counts of molestation of a child under the age of 15.  Arizona law designates the charges as dangerous crimes against children due to the girl’s age.

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Medina, 52, has been held in custody on a no-bond order. He will appear before Judge Laura Cardinal on Friday in an effort to be deemed eligible for bail so he can be released pending trial.

Cardinal must determine whether there are any conditions of release which can assure Medina’s appearance at trial, can protect against intimidation of witnesses, and can protect the safety of the victim and the community. The judge must also take into consideration the position of the girl’s mother who is acting as the victim representative.

Court records show Douglas Police Det. Melidda Claudio opened an investigation into the girl’s allegations in early November. The girl provided the detective a description of when and where the alleged abuse occurred, dating back to 2019.

Claudio wrote in a probable cause statement filed at the time of Medina’s Dec. 7 arrest that the girl’s mother was aware of the earlier charges against Medina involving her daughter. However, the mother “continued her relationship with Juan” after the New Mexico case ended without a conviction, Claudio noted.

The detective also obtained a recorded phone call between the girl and Medina in which various incidents of abuse are discussed.

“(The girl) asks Juan to apologize for sexually abusing her and Juan apologizes and asks her for forgiveness and states that he didn’t know what he was doing,” Claudio wrote in her statement.

Medina -also known as Medina Vazquez- declined to speak with Claudio about the investigation at the time of his arrest. He is now being represented by the Cochise County Legal Defender’s department.

A no-contact order between the girl’s mother and Medina was previously issued by the court. However, Cardinal recently modified that order so Medina and the mother can discuss issues concerning a business they jointly operate in Douglas.

The judge warned both that Medina’s jail calls are recorded and reviewed, and any discussion about the girl or the case could result in the loss of phone privileges. In addition, one or both could face criminal charges for contempt or even tampering with a witness.