Man Is Accused of Molesting Girl at Wal-Mart

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A 9-year-old girl was molested in a Fairfax County Wal-Mart by a man claiming to be a police officer, but the suspect was arrested minutes later, after the victim kicked him and ran for help, police said yesterday.

The girl was in the Wal-Mart at 7910 Richmond Hwy., in the Hybla Valley area of southern Fairfax, on Saturday afternoon, police said. She was standing in the electronics section when a man approached her while she was separated from her mother.

The man told the girl that he was a police officer and that he had to check her pockets for stolen merchandise, Fairfax Officer Don Gotthardt said. He did not present any identification or badge, Gotthardt said, and was not in a uniform. He wore a white hooded sweat shirt and bluejeans.

While the man was checking the girl, he molested her, police said. The girl kicked the man in the groin and ran to her mother.

Gotthardt said that the girl's mother quickly notified store security and that police responded rapidly, in part because the Mount Vernon police station is nearby. The suspect "probably facilitated his own capture by staying in the area. He was actually still in the store" when he was arrested, Gotthardt said.

Jaime F. Calacan Jr., 36, of the 200 block of North Furman Street in Alexandria was charged with abduction, aggravated sexual battery, impersonating a police officer and other counts.

"This was a brave little girl," Gotthardt said, "who kept her wits about her." He said police suggest that parents keep their children with them in stores at all times and instruct their children to yell "Help! I don't know this person!" if they are approached by strangers.

People have become desensitized to hearing just the word "help," Gotthardt said. Children should then "separate themselves from danger as quickly as possible," he said.

"Wal-Mart takes incidents of this nature very seriously," spokesman Dan Fogleman said. "We make every effort to ensure the safety of our customers and associates, in part by working with local law enforcement to resolve issues as quickly as possible."

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