Ice cream salesman accused of raping young girl

Image 1 of 4

An ice cream man is accused of sexually assaulting a child who stopped by his home to buy a treat on Sunday.

Bernardo Salinas, 66, was arrested on Sunday night at his home in the Pride Park neighborhood of Bradenton and charged with sexual battery.

"He enticed this victim. He sold the victim ice cream, and then, unfortunately, the next thing you know he's sexually assaulting her," said Dave Bristow, spokesperson for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

According to deputies, a 7-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother stopped by the back door of Salinas' house on Sunday to buy ice cream.

Salinas was known around his neighborhood for selling frozen treats from both an ice cream cart and out of his backdoor.

The children told deputies after the young boy bought ice cream from Salinas, he told him to go outside and play with his friends.

He took the girl to his bedroom, locked the door and raped her.

According to a close relative, the girl did not tell her parents what happened until Sunday night out of fear. They were shocked to learn what happened to her and called authorities.

"It's crazy how an old man like that can have a sick mind to go and do that to a little girl," said a relative. "The past days in my mind, I'm going to sleep, and I'm still thinking about this."

The victim's mother also spoke to FOX 13. She said her daughter told her she saw a gun and a knife beside Salinas' bed, and she was scared he would kill her after the assault.

According to her mother, her daughter said Salinas sexually assaulted her a week prior as well. Deputies have not confirmed that accusation.

"It's obviously very, very disturbing, and we are fearful that there could be other victims," said Bristow.

Salinas is currently behind bars on a sexual battery charge.

Investigators are asking parents in the Pride Park neighborhood to talk to their children who may have had contact with Salinas.

They're trying to determine if there are other victims.