Bethlehem police have charged a SouthSide man with breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment three months ago, sexually assaulting her in the bathroom and breaking her $200 cell phone.
The suspect, Jean-Carlos Morales-Benitez, 21, and the woman had a child together but were not “in any sort of romantic relationship” when the April 16 incident occurred, court papers say. He used to live with her in the apartment but left about a week before the incident and returned the key to her.
A criminal complaint filed by city Officer Michael J. Diluzio tells the following story:
- The woman arrived at her SouthSide apartment around 1pm on April 16 – a Monday -- and found the apartment door to be chained from the inside. The door previously had been locked.
- Morales-Benitez was inside. When the woman asked him how he got in, he replied, “I got my ways.”
- He let her inside and then began sleeping on a sofa. The woman told police she ignored him and went to take a shower.
- Morales-Benitez entered the bathroom while she was inside. He told her to “pull your pants down, I want to see something.” She tried to hold up her pants but he was able to pull them down, leaving her exposed below the waist.
- She said he then “became enraged” and punched her at least 10 times, causing bruising and swelling on her upper right arm. She appeared to have difficulty moving her arm when police arrived but did not require medical attention.
- After punching her, Morales-Benitez began going through her cell phone and she demanded it back. He broke the phone in half and left it on a coffee table. The phone, a T-Mobile Sidekick, was valued at $200.
- He fled the apartment before police arrived.
Morales-Benitez, whose address is listed as both Argus Street and Mechanic Street, was taken into custody Friday and arraigned that night by on-duty District Judge Douglas Schlegel of Wind Gap. The complaint provides no details on how police found him.
He was charged with criminal trespass and burglary – both felonies – as well as simple assault, harassment, criminal mischief and indecent assault. He was committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $30,000 bail.