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Man pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges

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A local man pleaded not guilty Monday at an arraignment in Fifth Judicial District Court in Roswell to a criminal charge connected to an alleged sexual assault of a young girl.

With the assistance of an Arabic translator who provided services by speaker phone, Youness Bendib, 31, of Roswell, pleaded not guilty to one count of criminal sexual penetration in the second degree of a child, 13-18, by force or coercion.

Bendib was represented by Public Defender Jared Kallunki, while Emily Frye of the Chaves County District Attorney’s office represented the state of New Mexico at the hearing. 

The charge is from an alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old female that happened March 14 at a barber shop at the 100 block of West Walnut Street, according to an affidavit.

According to statements from the victim, which were included in the affidavit, she had gone to the barber shop for a haircut. She alleges that after she got her haircut, Bendib asked the victim to remain at the shop to help him communicate with two other customers. She stayed and after the other customers had left, Bendib allegedly escorted the victim to a back room in the shop where she and Bendib “began to talk and hang out,” according to a statement from the victim in the affidavit.

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The affidavit states Bendib touched the victim even though she told him not to. He then allegedly committed sexual offenses against her.

A population summary from the Chaves County Corrections Center released Wednesday listed Bendib as one of the inmates.

A docket call for Bendib is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 20 at the Chaves County Courthouse, with Judge Dustin Hunter presiding.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.