(SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced the guilty jury verdict for a rape committed by 65-year-old Pelencho Contrera.
“We hope that the jury’s verdict finding defendant Contrera guilty of rape brings some relief to the victim who was here visiting her family in the United States when the defendant took advantage and violated her,” said Tierney. “No one has the right to force themselves on a person without their consent. I commend the victim for her bravery in reporting this crime and facing her attacker in court. This verdict is proof that in Suffolk County there will be consequences for such criminal acts. I thank the jury for their service.”
The evidence at trial established that on August 6, 2018, the victim, age 18, was visiting the United States to see her family in Bay Shore. The defendant asked the victim to go food shopping to the supermarket with him. Instead, he drove her to the Sunrise Inn in West Babylon where he threatened to kill the victim, her mother and her siblings if she did not do what he wanted. Inside the motel room, the defendant raped her.
Afterwards, while the defendant was getting dressed, the victim took a photograph of his back on her cell phone. The complainant returned home to her country, but 11 months later she walked into the Third Precinct on July 5, 2019 and filed a complaint.
The next day, on July 6, 2019, Det. Jack Balaguera of the Suffolk County Police’s Third Squad went to the Sunrise Inn and obtained the registration card with the defendant's name on it from the date of the crime, August 6, 2018. On July 7, 2019, the defendant was placed under arrest at his house.
Contrera was convicted by the jury of one count of Rape in the First Degree, one count of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, one count of Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, and one count of Rape in the Third Degree. Upon sentencing, he faces a determinate sentence of between five to 25 years in prison.
The trial was heard before the Honorable Karen M. Wilutis, District Court Judge and Acting County Court Judge. Contrera was represented by Christopher Brocato, Esq and Richard Stafford, Esq. He is due back in court for sentencing on August 3, 2022.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Michelle Haddad and Breanna McIntyre of the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau.
Criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusatory instruments.
Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one is above the law.
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