A Nebraska nun’s report that one of her charges was inappropriately touched led to the arrest of a Basalt man Wednesday on a felony charge of sexually abusing a minor.
John Cerise, 47, was advised Wednesday evening and released on a $2,500 bond.
According to a report by Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy Bruce Benjamin, who handles crimes involving juveniles, he began investigating Cerise on Nov. 19.
The alleged victim, a female, was attending a private Catholic elementary school in Nebraska and allegedly told a friend that Cerise had touched her inappropriately during a three-year period. Their relationship is not being disclosed in order to protect the girl’s identity.
The alleged victim made the same allegations to the nun and the school’s bishop. The nun contacted a social services employee in Kit Carson County, and that person alerted local authorities.
Benjamin’s report says the abuse happened in the Roaring Fork Valley between October 2010 and September of this year.
On Nov. 29, Benjamin and a Pitkin County human resources caseworker interviewed Cerise.
He allegedly admitted touching the girl and kissing her.
“At some point, I did mess up. ... I knew I was doing wrong,” he said, according to the sheriff’s report.
His next court date was not available Thursday.