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Man Accused of Raping 12 Year-Old Girl

COLUMBUS (James Jackson) -- We're learning more tonight about a Central Ohio man, accused of raping a 12 year-old girl. Columbus Police say 27 year-old Gilbert Montanez raped the child, in an abandoned apartment, on Rand Circle, on the east side of Columbus, around 4 yesterday morning. Police later arrested Montanez at the apartment.

Montanez's friend and roommate, Ayesha Watters, says the allegations are false. She says he's lived in her home, on Rand Avenue, for a couple months. Watters said, "That is impossible because he's always around my daughter. He's always around the other girls and he never acted weird or any kind of way."

Watters has known Montanez since he was 13 and calls him "little bro." Watters said, "He's a happy go lucky guy. He's children oriented. He has four of his own and he's really like a cool person to hang around. He's like to laugh with people. Have fun."

Carrie Snyder lives down the street from where the alleged incident took place. She doesn't know Montanez, but says the violence in the neighborhood makes her consider moving. Snyder said, "When I first moved down here it was nice. But now, like I said, you see cops around here every other day."

Montanez appeared in a Franklin County courtroom today. His attorney says he's lived in Columbus for seven years and works at a warehouse. He's currently in the Franklin County Jail, on $1,000,000 bond. Watters says she'll stand by her friend, no matter what the outcome.
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