Police: City man tried to assault teen boy

Moreno allegedly targeted 13-year-old in sexual attack

An Altoona man is behind bars after police say he tried to sexually assault a 13-year-old boy.

Altoona police allege 23-year-old Bernard Moreno tried to assault the boy under the Seventh Street Bridge on May 22, but after a struggle, the boy ran to a nearby business for help.

About 2 p.m. May 22, Moreno asked the boy to walk to Smoker’s Express on the 2400 block of Union Avenue. Af­ter Moreno bought a couple of packs of cigars and a carton of cigarettes, the pair walked to a nearby bar where Moreno bought a six-pack of beer.

The boy told Altoona police that Moreno drank a couple of the beers and threw away the rest as they made their way toward the East End. Moreno walked into the Cantina at Sev­enth Avenue and Fourth Street, before emerging with another six-pack of beer.

Moreno started drinking bottles of beer as the two walked down Eighth Avenue, and when they ar­rived beneath the Seventh Street Bridge, Moreno allegedly asked the boy, “How big is your (penis)?”

“Moreno then pulled down both his pants and his underwear and exposed his genitals to the victim,” Altoona police Detective Cpl. Terry Merritts noted in charges filed Friday before Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio.

Moreno then told the boy to look and demanded the boy show him his genitals, police said.

The boy told Moreno, “No,” and started to walk away, but Moreno tackled him to the ground. The boy told police Moreno climbed on top of him and tried to pull down the boy’s pants. The boy struggled to fight off Moreno and managed to roll over onto his back, but Moreno kept trying to pull down the boy’s pants.

“Come on, give it to me, give it to me,” Moreno allegedly said during the attack.

Police said the boy got away from Moreno and was tackled a second time, but he climbed to his feet and ran to the nearby Outdoor City Guns at 704 Eighth Ave.

The boy ran inside and told the employees a man was trying to “rape him” and “pedophile stuff,” Merritts wrote in the charges.

A few seconds later, Moreno entered the business and grabbed the boy and tried to carry him outside.

When employees intervened and told Moreno to leave the boy alone, Moreno allegedly “flashed his driver’s license at one of the employees and said, ‘See, I am legit.'”

Police said Moreno told the employees he was taking the boy home and that they only lived a few blocks away, but the employees told him to leave and told the boy to stay inside while they called police.

While waiting on police to arrive, the boy darted out another exit and ran home.

After the boy ran off, Moreno came back inside with a beer in his hand and allegedly asked where the boy had gone, police said. When he was told to leave again, Moreno “left the store in a fit of rage, went outside and smashed the beer bottle that he was drinking on the sidewalk,” Merritts wrote. Moreno then ran off.

The boy and his mother went to the Altoona Police Department on Thursday and gave a taped statement about the incident.

Police said surveillance footage at the gun shop shows the incident as described by the boy and the employees.

Moreno was taken into custody and arraigned Friday night on felony charges that include three counts attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors, along with a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure. Online court documents state Moreno was unable to post bail, but doesn’t list an amount.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.