Child assaulted at Irving store while mom went to gym

Police: Metro PCS store employee sexually assaulted child

IRVING -- Police in Irving say an employee at a local MetroPCS store has been arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Gerardo Israel Strauss, 36, is being held in the Irving City Jail with a bond set at $100,000. ICE has also placed an immigration detainer on Strauss.

Strauss worked at the MetroPCS located in the 1400 block of East Grauwyler Road in Irving. The store is part of a strip mall and next door is a shop called Direct Nutrition.

Police tell WFAA that many parents would leave their children in the MetroPCS store to play with phones and laptops while they went to the Zumba fitness class at Direct Nutrition.

One of those mothers left her 9-year-old daughter in the store over the course of a year. Detectives say at some point, Strauss began taking the girl to a back room at the store, where he'd assembled some bedding and assaulted her.

The girl told a school counselor about the inappropriate touching in April, and the school alerted authorities.

Police do not know how long the assaults were going on.

"We see this a lot in sexual assault cases, with offenders taking a long time to groom their victims. So maybe just with the continued pattern of dropping kids off there, that gave him time to kind of think this out," said Officer James McLellan, public information officer for Irving police.

That MetroPCS location is currently closed.

The girl's mother is not looking at any charges at this point because detectives say she never knowingly exposed her daughter to any harm or neglect. Her daughter was in a public store, open during business hours, and her mother was technically just on the other side of the wall.

Because the 9-year-old was one of several kids said to be left in that store during the fitness class, Irving police say it's possible there could be more victims.

Anyone with concerns that their child may be a victim is asked to call Detective Curtis at (972) 721-2535.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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