Christian Mercado-Velez, 30, of Tucson will be sentenced to between 3.5 and 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting two young girls in July 2011. He will be sentenced May 13 in Pima County Superior Court.

Mercado-Velez approached the back of a young girl in a store near North Oracle and West Wetmore roads on July 18, 2011, and touched her inappropriately, according to court documents. A week later, Mercado-Velez did the same thing to another girl under 10 at a different store.

He was arrested three days later.

Mercado-Velez faces mandatory prison on one of the counts, but could be placed on lifetime probation for the other.

If placed on probation, Mercado-Velez will have to participate in a sex offender treatment program.

Kim Smith

Senior Editor, News, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Az.

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