A man who has been arrested twice in less than a year for sexually assaulting two women, with one of the incidents happening last week, was arrested late on Friday for domestic battery on another woman.
Santiago Baerga, 21, was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he remained on Tuesday. In addition to the battery charge, he was charged with sexual assault and moving traffic violation/habitual offender.
According to Sheriff’s detectives on Tuesday, while Baerga was in the jail he asked a woman to call the third victim so he could try to persuade her to drop the charges. For contacting the victim, Baerga was additionally charged with tampering with a victim/witness.
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office report, in Baerga’s most recent arrest, a 36-year-old woman told a deputy that she and Baerga were arguing around 5 p.m. on Thursday when he held her wrist and arms when she attempted to get her keys from him. She said he took her car and drove off. She added that her wallet was in her car and is missing.
The woman said around 10 a.m. on Friday, she and Baerga were arguing again and he declined to return her keys. She claimed he pushed her down and threatened to punch her if she did not shut up. She also claimed that Baerga threatened to kill her and her children. The deputy saw bruises on the woman, the report states.
At the point when a deputy saw Baerga, he said he pushed the woman but denied grabbing her. He was arrested by the deputy.
According to Detective Daniel Pinder’s report, while Baerga was at the prison, he asked another woman to contact the victim using a three-way call. During the call, Baerga argued with the victim about money and requested that she pick up a car for him and go to the State Attorney’s Office to drop the charge. He apologized for pushing her and told her to “play the system to bond him out.”
Baerga asked the victim why she called law enforcement and she said because he threatened her. The report stated that he kept on questioning her about dropping the charge.
The first alleged incident occurred in August 2017. The case was dropped two months later for what prosecutors said at the time were inconsistent statements from the victim.
Baerga was arrested on June 20 by sheriff’s deputies for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman he picked up along South Pine Avenue the night of June 19. He was released the morning of June 21 on $10,000 for sexual battery.
According to jail records, Baerga is currently being held without bond.
The first asserted episode occurred in August 2017. The case was dropped two months after the fact for what prosecutors said at the time were conflicting explanations from the casualty.
“He’s a violent criminal and he’s targeting women and it needs to stop,” said a woman who told the Star-Banner that she was Baerga’s first victim.