MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Memphis man is charged with raping a 9-year-old girl.
Police say the 9-year-old girl told her teacher she had been raped by a man she knew.
If a child says someone’s hurt them, advocates say there’s only one way to respond.
“When kids tell us that they have been sexually abused, they have been raped, they have been molested, that somebody is hurting them, we begin with believing what that child is saying," said Virginia Stallworth, executive director at the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.
Police said the 9-year-old made comments suggesting Alberto Barreno, 35, raped her and said she was tired of it.
Her teacher took it seriously and reported it, leading to an arrest.
"Reporting suspected abuse is not only your moral obligation, but it’s you’re legal responsibility," said Stallworth.
Barreno’s reported to be the victim’s mother’s boyfriend, living in an apartment complex on North Bellevue.
"It’s always quiet, that’s why I like to stay right here," said his neighbor Boneth.
Boneth said she doesn’t know much about the suspect or these allegations, but other neighbors told WREG off record they don’t believe it and described Barreno as a good guy.
"I really don’t know anything about that," said Boneth.
Police say Barreno raped the little girl multiple times at the apartment, with the last incident being two weeks ago.
Police say a medical exam showed the girl had been sexually assaulted.
Advocates say to always call authorities or the Department of Child Services if a child mentions abuse.
Barreno’s bail was set at $150,000.
He’s expected to be back in court next week on his charges of aggravated sexual battery and rape of a child.