The Bridgeport store manager forcefully kissed a 12-year-old who was buying chips

BRIDGEPORT – A local store manager is accused of forcing a 12-year-old girl to kiss him in exchange for a bag of crisps.

Manuel Perez, 50, manager of the D&B Mini Market on Beechwood Avenue, was charged with risk of injury to a child. He was released after posting $15,000 bond.

“I’m sorry I don’t speak English,” Perez said when confronted with the allegations on Thursday. He made no further comment.

Police said on March 8 that officers were dispatched to the Curiale school for a complaint of sexual assault. When officers arrived at the scene, they encountered the 12-year-old girl and her mother, who had just reported an assault to school security, police said.

Police said the girl told them she had stopped at the D&B mini market on her way to school to buy crisps. The girl said she had gone up to the store counter to pay for the chips when Perez grabbed her, pulled her to him, then forcefully kissed her on the lips, police said.

Police say the girl managed to get away from Perez and back to the back of the store. Perez then told her she didn’t have to pay the chips and she left, police said.

Police say the girl texted her mother about what happened soon after.

The girl told officers that Perez had been friendly with her in the past when she entered the store and once gave her a hug and a kiss on the top of the head.

Police said when they later confronted Perez about the girl’s allegations, he acknowledged that she entered the store, but denied doing anything improper with her.

“He said he had a wife, so why would he need to do this,” according to the police report.

Perez’s attorney did not respond to calls for comment. Perez is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on May 19.

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