Ice cream vendor to face reduced charge

An ice cream vendor accused of grabbing and kissing an 8-year-old girl in San Mateo earlier this month had one of four felony charges he faces reduced to a misdemeanor Monday.

San Mateo Superior Court Judge Susan Irene Etizadi said the false-imprisonment charge against Hayward resident Mario Aaron Martinez-Delgado, 51, did not rise to the level of a felony because he did not grab the girl with excessive force.

Deputy District Attorney Gregory Devitt said the reduced charge would not affect the possible sentence of eight years in state prison Martinez-Delgado faces if convicted.

The ice cream vendor is charged with three felonies — lewd act with a child under 14 by force, lewd act with a child and assault with intent to molest, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

All charges are related to a single alleged attack July 1. At Monday’s preliminary hearing, San Mateo police Officer James Henley said he was called to the girl’s residence by her mother. The victim “was hysterically crying,” he said.

The girl told Henley that when she tried to pay Martinez-Delgado, the vendor told her she could have it for free if she kissed him. The girl said no, and Martinez-Delgado then grabbed the girl by her arm and kissedher, sticking his tongue in her mouth, Henley said.

tbarak@examiner.com

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