Tahlequah Daily Press

July 16, 2013

Man charged with attack on custodian

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Prosecutors have filed charges against a Tahlequah man suspected of a May sexual assault against a Northeastern State University custodian.

Derek Martin Perez, 25, is charged with felony sexual battery.

In May, NSU police spoke to a female custodian at the university who said a man began to follow her around one night in April while she was working inside the education building.

The woman said the man – who eventually told her his last name was Perez and said he lived near the NSU campus – followed her into a bathroom and pushed his body up against hers. She tried to walk away from Perez, but he again grabbed her and touched her inappropriately a second time, according to an affidavit.

The woman then sprayed Perez in the face with a cleaning liquid, and Perez let go of her; but he allegedly pushed his body into hers a third time after the woman left the bathroom.

The alleged victim said she told Perez to leave, but he stayed near her. She then contacted a co-worker who arrived and confronted Perez, before Perez left the building.

Perez was arrested by Tahlequah police in May when he and his brother were allegedly caught with stolen property near NSU.

Campus officers learned of the arrest and put together a photographic lineup, which was then shown to the alleged sexual assault victim. The woman identified Perez as the man who had touched her inappropriately, according to an affidavit.

Court records show a judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of Perez based on his latest charge. Sexual battery is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Before he was charged with sexual battery, Perez appeared in Cherokee County District Court as a follow-up to his arrest by Tahlequah police.

He pleaded no contest to knowingly concealing stolen property and was given a five-year deferred sentence, court records show.