A 22-year-old man pleaded not guilty Friday in Chelsea District Court to raping a child this summer at the Chelsea youth center where he volunteered, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.
Vriky Santos of Chelsea is charged with aggravated rape in allegedly sexually assaulting a preteen boy at Explorer Post 109, located in the Chelsea Community Fitness Center on Shurtleff Street, in mid-July, according to a statement from Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.
Authorities first learned of the incident when the boy disclosed the abuse to personnel at a Chelsea school, who notified police. Santos was arrested Thursday night, Wark said.
After the arrest, Conley urged parents and caregivers to reassure children that they can talk to them about anything.
“Parenting is a tough enough job without being a forensic interviewer, too,” said Conley. “We don’t want children feeling pressure to disclose abuse. We want them to feel comfortable telling the truth, even if it seems scary or embarrassing to them at first.”
Explorer Post 109 has agreed to remain closed pending execution of a search warrant and subsequent inquiry.
Santos was held on $10,000 cash bail and ordered to stay away from children under 16, wear a GPS tracking device, and surrender any passport or travel documents if bail is posted, Wark said.
Santos is scheduled back in court Oct. 10.