Noel Morales Medina has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in Palm Beach County 20 years ago when he was a minor.
Medina, 34, was charged with sexual battery with a deadly weapon and burglary with assault or battery. He is being held in Palm Beach County Jail. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), the alleged sexual assault occurred during the early morning hours of October 25, 1999, in the victim’s West Palm Beach home. Medina was only 14 years old at the time; police didn’t release the age of the victim. Medina reportedly broke into the victim’s home, held a knife to her throat, tied her up with a cord, and sexually assaulted her five times.
It is not clear whether Medina knew the victim, nor is it known why he allegedly targeted her. There are no accounts of him speaking to the press about the charges.
Rape kit evidence was collected from the victim, but PBSO wasn’t able to identify Medina as the suspect until August 2017, almost 18 years later. A warrant for his arrest was issued and he was finally captured by U.S. Marshals in Mayfield, KY, last month.
“Even though they happened in 1999, or in 2002, or 2005, law enforcement hasn’t forgotten about these victims and they are still important,” said Nicole Bishop, the Director of Palm Beach County Victims Services. “And if they have the evidence and the information that they need to move forward, they’re going to do that.”
Bishop believes Medina’s arrest should encourage more victims to come forward, regardless of how much time has passed. Anyone who has been sexual assaulted is asked to contact the Sexual Assault Response Team at 561-833-7273. It isn’t clear whether authorities suspect Media was a one-time offender or if they believe he conducted a series of similar attacks. It is also not immediately known whether he has a criminal record as an adult.
Medina is the latest suspect to be arrested for a sexual assault case that happened decades ago in South Florida. These arrests are thanks to a renewed focus on processing a backlog of rape kits collected in the 90s. The statewide initiative is helping law enforcement agencies test rape kits from a time when investigators didn’t have access to DNA technology or had exhausted all leads in a case.
Sexual battery is a serious offense with harsh penalties, which is why it is important for defendants to hire a competent attorney to represent them. A good defense lawyer will analyze the victim’s claim, statements, and other evidence to determine if consent was a problem. In many cases, consent is simply a matter of the victim’s word versus that of the defendant’s.
South Florida Sexual Battery Attorney