By Jon Johnson
DUNCAN – Michael Lindel Acosta, 66, owner and operator of the Apache Grove Bar in Duncan, was arrested Monday, Aug. 12, on charges of sexual conduct with a minor and sexual assault. Acosta is being held in the Greenlee County Jail on a $200,000 cash bond.
The Greenlee County Attorney’s Office then charged Acosta with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and child sex trafficking.
The charges stem from an Oct. 23, 2018 incident at the Apache Grove Bar in which Acosta allegedly sexually assaulted a then 17-year-old girl.
According to Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office reports, the girl said she had been frequenting the thrift shop area of the establishment for the past week and had gone in that day and picked out a purse. She inquired about the cost of the purse but when told it was for sale for $5, she advised the proprietor, Acosta, that she didn’t have the money to purchase it.
The victim said Acosta then began to tell her stories about past sexual conquests and that some customers had paid for items in other ways than with money.
The victim advised that she was not into what Acosta was insinuating and that she wasn’t going to pay for the purse with sex.
At that time, the victim said she attempted to leave but Acosta allegedly pushed her onto the bar from behind, flipped her over and took off her pants. She said he then held her down as he performed cunnilingus and digitally penetrated her.
After a short while, the victim said she managed to kick off her attacker, grabbed her pants and get dressed and ran out of the store while holding her shoes. She said that as she left Acosta called out to her and told her to “wear sweat pants next time.”
The victim then reported the incident to authorities and she eventually was given a forensic sexual assault exam at Tucson Medical Center.
Investigators interviewed Acosta at the time, who allegedly admitted to the juvenile being in his store and looking at a purse. Acosta said he and the juvenile talked for about 20 minutes but said she then left. When questioned about the assault and if he would be willing to submit his DNA for testing, Acosta said he would first have to consult with an attorney.
After speaking with the girl’s parents, authorities learned Acosta had given the juvenile a couple of items for free a couple days prior to the alleged incident.
After receiving DNA evidence back from the Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Lab and finishing its investigation, the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Acosta on Monday, Aug. 12 and placed him into the Greenlee County Jail.