Bay City News

Man Allegedly Tries to Sexually Assault Two Young Girls in El Cerrito

A 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in El Cerrito last week after he attacked two young girls, ages 8 and 9, in front of one of their fathers, police said.

The girls were walking on the BART path in the vicinity of Manila Avenue Thursday, Jan. 24, when Richmond resident Freddy Penate-Melara allegedly approached them and grabbed one child's arm.

Police said she broke free, but Penate-Melara allegedly grabbed the other girl, pinned her to the ground and began to choke her. Police said Penate-Melara ran off when the father became aware of the attack but officers found him near the entrance to the Department of Motor Vehicles office on Manila Avenue.

Police said investigators believe his intention was to sexually assault one or both of the children.

He's been arrested and as of Wednesday afternoon he was still in custody on $2.5 million bail. The case remains under investigation, however, and anyone with additional information is asked to contact police at (510) 215-4400 or

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