Asylum seeker officially indicted on rape charges

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An asylum seeker from Venezuela was officially indicted on rape charges stemming from alleged incidents at a hotel in Cheektowaga last month, the Erie County District Attorney announced Tuesday.

It is alleged that 26-year-old Jesus Guzman-Bermudez raped the same victim twice in one night on or around August 2. Authorities said that the alleged crimes occurred inside of a Cheektowaga hotel room, located on the 4200 block of Genesee Street. It is further alleged that the crimes happened in front of a 3-year-old child.

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He is charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of third-degree rape, as well as endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. If convicted of the highest charge, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

He is scheduled to return to court on September 21. He is being held without bail, and a temporary order of protection issued on behalf of the victim and child remains in effect.

Guzman-Bermudez is one of four asylum seekers to have been arrested. Following his arrest, a 22-year-old man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting an employee with an organization tasked to help asylum seekers. Later in August, two men, one also from Venezuela, were arrested and charged following two separate alleged incidents in Cheektowaga and Amherst.

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After the first two arrests, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz reached an agreement with New York City Mayor Eric Adams that no more asylum seekers would come to the area.

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

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