A South Florida man was arrested for allegedly molesting a 6-year-old girl his girlfriend babysat.
Mario Padilla, 57, is charged with battery on a minor and is being held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
In court Tuesday, Padilla was ordered to stay away from and to not contact the victim.
NBC 6 spoke to Padilla’s girlfriend, who didn’t want to show her confront or give her name. She says she doesn’t believe the charges.
“If I’m taking care of a kid, it’s because I love them. He’s innocent. I’m telling you I’ve never left them alone, and I’ve taken them everywhere with me,” she said. “I don’t know why she’s accusing him. It’s not just.”
The woman says she’s been babysitting the victim for the last four years and says the child never seemed like anything was wrong.
“The girl told me one day that she likes coming here. If he had done something to her, she wouldn’t be happy coming here,” she said.
Police say the alleged abuse would happen when the victim was alone in the living room with the speculate while the other kids were in a separate room.
“She closest confessed to the mom what was happening and this is how we learned of it,” said Kenia Fallat of the Miami Police Department.
“About 90% of all abuse situations truly happen at the hands of somebody that we know, somebody that we trust,” said Amanda Altman, the CEO of Kristi House, which helps kids who have suffered abuse or trauma.
She says parents should encourage their children to speak up if something doesn’t feel right.
“That’s your personal body and your personal space and you can speak up. You can leave and you can tell an adult,” Altman said. “It’s OK to say ‘no’ already if it’s somebody you know.”
Altman also says it’s also important to pay attention to red flags that something isn’t right with your child.
“Changes in behavior, withdrawal, or acting out. Those are three meaningful signs that something is going on with your child,” she said.
But above everything else, “If your child does report it, the most important thing is that you believe them,” Altman said.
Police also believe the child was molested on various occasions and that there might be other victims.
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