Defendant Threatened to Kill the Child and Her Cat if She Told Anyone
A 20-year-old Riverhead man pleaded guilty to raping his younger cousin whom he babysat over the course of four years, beginning when the victim was five years old.
In August 2018, the defendant moved in with with the victim’s family. The defendant acted as a babysitter to his two cousins who also lived in the home, including the female victim, who was five years old at the time, and her two-year-old brother. The defendant also assisted in getting the children off the school bus while their parents were working. (The defendant’s name is being withheld to protect the name of the victim.)
Between August 2018 and March 2022, the defendant repeatedly raped the victim while he was home alone watching the children. When the victim told the defendant that she would tell her mother what he was doing, the defendant threatened that he would kill her or her beloved pet cat if she said anything.
In March 2022, the defendant raped the victim, who was then nine years old, in front of her brother, who was then six years old. After seeing his sister in distress, the boy put the victim’s cat on the bed where the rape was occurring, and the cat scratched the defendant, which stopped the abuse.
Shortly after that day, the victim’s mother noticed that the children were apprehensive about being alone with the defendant. When the mother asked why, the boy told her what he saw happen to his sister, and that the defendant “hurts” the victim. The mother immediately called the police, and the defendant was arrested.
On July 28, 2023, the defendant pleaded guilty before County Court Judge Karen M. Wilutis, to the charge of first-degree rape, a Class B violent felony. He is due back in court for sentencing on September 6, 2023.
“This defendant, who was entrusted to care for his younger cousins, instead subjected one of them to unthinkable sexual abuse for years of her young life,” said District Attorney Ray Tierney. “This guilty plea and ensuing prison sentence will ensure that the victim can begin to heal from the trauma that she endured without being subjected to testifying in court against her abuser and cousin.”