Joseph Cherima

Joseph Cherima

Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office

Joseph Cherima, 71, took an 8-year-old girl into a dark bedroom, forced her onto the bed and raped her, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

When someone in the home came looking for her, the girl screamed for help, but he held the door closed for about 10 minutes before letting her out, deputies said.

When the unnamed person asked what was going on, the girl replied, according to a police report: “He put his thing in my thing and this is not the first time it happened.”

The girl then told deputies the Aug. 31 incident was the fourth time the man had raped her, according to the sheriff’s office.

Cherima was arrested Monday on four counts of sexual battery on a child under 12 years old. He was being held Friday with no bond.

According to the report, the inappropriate encounters happened in a West Palm Beach home. The girl didn’t remember exact days and times, but told investigators that the first time he raped her, her grandmother was at church, a detective wrote in the report. Another time, she was playing with her baby sister and one time she was outside hanging up laundry, detectives said.

In one case, the girl told investigators he took her into the bathroom and “put her on the floor,” according to the report.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.

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