Crime

Man sentenced to 17 years for molesting 5-Year-Old

INDIO, Calif.- - A Desert Hot Springs man who pleaded guilty to five felony counts in connection with the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl was sentenced to almost two decades in prison today.

Dion Peralta Duran, 39, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on five lewd and lascivious acts charges on July 11 -- just as jury selection was getting underway for his trial.

Duran also admitted to a prior conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He received a sentence of 17 years in state prison on Friday.

Duran molested his victim multiple times at a Desert Hot Springs home over the course of several months, according to the initial declaration in support of an arrest warrant from 2017.

A forensic medical exam of the girl, whose identity was withheld, allegedly revealed injuries consistent with sexual abuse. The girl confided she had been abused to a family friend. Subsequent interviews with the victim and her mother led deputies to identify Duran as the suspect, the declaration states.   

On the same day that the child's mother reported the alleged abuse to police in May 2017, Duran was accused of chasing after a woman on Avenida Mirola in Desert Hot Springs while wielding a sledgehammer.   

In a separate declaration, a sheriff's deputy stated that he was investigating a shooting at a home in the area and that Duran was a victim in that incident. However, during his investigation, the deputy alleged he saw Duran near a woman's home and then observed him approach her with a "40 oz. Snap-On 
brand sledgehammer.''

The deputy said he took Duran into custody at gunpoint after seeing him approach the woman.

Duran initially faced an additional charge of assault with a deadly weapon based on that incident, but the charge was dismissed in July 2018.


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