Chirchir Marathon Runner Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact in Bogota

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BOGOTA — A Kenyan marathoner is accused of inappropriately touching a 15-year-old girl in the women’s locker room of the Bogota Golf Center Wednesday evening, police said.

Bergen County Sheriff’s Department Eric Kipkemei Chirchir

Eric Kipkemei Chirchir works at the golf center, Bogota police Capt. James Sepp said.

The victim, whose hometown was not released, told police Wednesday around 6 p.m. that a man had gone into the locker room and touched her, Sepp said. She escaped and an employee called authorities. The girl does not work at the golf center.

“This is definitely an extremely uncommon occurrence there,” Sepp said.

Chirchir was still at the center when police arrived, but “took off running” when officers approached him, Sepp said. He left his bike and backpack at the center.

“He ran all the way home,” Sepp said.

Chirchir lives on Terrace Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights, about four or five miles away from the golf center, the captain said. Officers found him hiding in a closet there and arrested him.

He is charged with criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice, Sepp said.

It appears he is in the U.S. illegally because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement put a detainer on him upon his arrest, Sepp said, meaning he is also being held for violating immigration laws.

Chirchir has run marathons in Israel, Italy and Richmond, Va., according to his profile on the International Association of Athletics Federations. He set a personal record in Israel in 2011 at 2:14:09.

Sepp said no other victims have come forward, but anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Bogota police department at 201-487-2400.

Chichir remained in the Bergen County Jail on $100,000 bail on Thursday, his 31st birthday.

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