A man was arrested Tuesday for indecency with a child following alleged inappropriate contact with three Stephenville girls who were reportedly playing unattended at a local shopping center.

Jesus Alvarado, 46, was detained as he attempted to board a bus at the Kerrville Bus Company on the South Loop just moments after a call for help had been made. Alvarado is reportedly from the Corpus Christi area and not a local resident.

Detective Sgt. Casey Heath said three girls, ranging from ages eight to 12, were playing outside of the Sears store across the street from the bus station when the suspect allegedly approached the girls and touched each in the “groin area.” The store was reportedly not open at the time of the incident.

The frightened trio immediately ran home and reported the incident to an adult who then called police.

Alvarado was initially arrested for public intoxication and booked into the Erath County Jail, where he remains. Heath said while the suspect was being held on the intoxication charge, the police department worked on obtaining a felony warrant on the indecency offense. Once the warrant was obtained, Alvarado was charged with indecency with a child.

Heath explained that although the suspect is facing only one count of the crime, the fact that he allegedly committed the offense against three children will come out during a trial if Alvarado is prosecuted.

“That information will be considered during the punishment phase if he is convicted of the crime,” Heath said. 

If convicted, Alvarado faces five to 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 for the first-degree felony offense.