NEWMAN - A local liquor store owner was arrested June 2 on suspicion of a rape which allegedly took place inside the business.
Newman police reported that Jose Joaquin Fernandes, 56, of Newman, was arrested and booked on felony charges of rape and rape of an intoxicated subject, as well as a misdemeanor charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
According to police reports, officers were dispatched to JJ Liquor at 1361 Main St. shortly before 3 a.m. for a security check. Newman Police Lt. Brett Short said a family member of the victim had called police after becoming concerned about the welfare of the victim.
“During the course of the investigation, there was probable cause to believe that a sexual assault had occurred inside the business,” a Newman Police Department Facebook post stated.
Short said no other information would be released in order to protect the identity of the victim.
No formal charges had been filed against Fernandes by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office as of Tuesday morning, spokesperson John Goold told Mattos Newspapers. Goold said case reports from investigators had not yet been submitted for review by the district attorney’s office.
A spokesperson for the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said the agency is aware of the arrest and is gathering information surrounding the allegations.
David Bailey, a division chief for the agency, said the store’s ABC license could be suspended or revoked through administrative action.
“It just depends on the details of the case when we get all that information,” Bailey said, noting that due process must be followed and that the license-holder has the right to request an administrative hearing to challenge any proposed sanctions.
The agency can impose administrative actions independently of criminal justice proceedings, he noted.
“We can take action based off what the Newman Police Department has done and followup investigation that we conduct,” Bailey explained. “It is easier if there is already a criminal conviction, but we don’t have to wait for that.”
The Newman Police Department, in its Facebook post on the arrest, asked “any individuals that may have experienced similar situations involving this subject” to contact police at 862-2902.
Short said police have received one report of an alleged incident occurring nine years ago under similar circumstances. That report is under investigation by authorities, Short told Mattos Newspapers.