Victim flees after suspect accosts her on Rails to Trails

Taft Police arrested a man who assaulted a woman on Rails to Trails early Sunday morning, charging him with lewd conduct and battery.

Maximino Hernandez, 37, is being held on $10,500 bail on the lewd conducted and battery charge, plus possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

He is also being held on a no-bail hold from the United States Boarder Patrol.

Chief of Police Ed Whiting said Hernandez is accused of approaching the victim on Rails to Trails south of the 700 block of Main Street about 12:44 a.m. Sunday “and asking her for sexual favors,” Whiting said.

Whiting said Hernandez then grabbed the woman, who was not identified.
She fled north towards Main Street and called 911 from her cell phone.
Whiting said officers responded quickly and found him on a bench next to the pathway.

He was detained and the victim identified him.

Whiting said Hernandez fits the general description of a man who has prompted several calls to police from women who have seen a man staring at them on Rails to Trails.

The suspect was also in possession of a fraudulent, forged social security card, Whiting said, and arrested on possession of forged, documents, but that charge apparently has not been filed in court.

Hernandez was arraigned Tuesday and is due back in court for a pretrial conference on Friday.