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Man Arrested on Charge of Sexually Abusing a Child

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 15:34
East Hampton Town police led Juan M. Bacuilima out of East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday morning after his arraignment.

A 56-year-old Sag Harbor man was arrested Wednesday on charges of sexually abusing a child in Springs in November, according to East Hampton Town police. 

Police said school officials contacted them in January when the child disclosed the abuse to a teacher after watching an educational video on when to report touching by an adult. 

Following an investigation, Juan M. Bacuilima, who used to live in Springs but recently moved to Sag Harbor, was charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. He faces seven years in jail. 

Police did not disclose the relationship between Mr. Bacuilima and the child. 

At his arraignment in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday morning, Rudy Migliore, a Suffolk County assistant district attorney, said that Mr. Bacuilima had inappropriately touched a 10-year-old girl. 

Matt D'Amato, a Legal Aid Society attorney representing Mr. Bacuilima, tried to stop the assistant district attorney from providing details of the case in open court by waiving the public reading.

"I'm entitled to speak to the strength of the people's case," Mr. Migliore said. Justice Lisa R. Rana let him continue. 

Mr. Migliore said that Mr. Bacuilima had admitted to police that he had touched the girl for "one or two minutes" and that he had asked her if she liked it. According to his confession as read by Mr. Migliore, she said, " 'No, don't touch that.' I'm very embarrassed for what I did."  

Mr. D'Amato discounted the admission, noting that his client speaks Spanish and he did not see a certificate of interpretation included with the alleged confession. 

Mr. Migliore asked for $75,000 cash bail or $150,000 bond because Mr. Bacuilima has had several addresses over the years and "tenuous employment." Mr. Bacuilima said through an interpreter and his attorney that he had lived in East Hampton for 20 years and had worked at a garden center for 15 years. His most recent job, held for one week before his arrest, was with an insulation company the name of which he had a hard time telling the interpreter. 

Mr. D'Amato said the assistant district attorney's bail request was not only unreasonable, but unnecessary. He said his client had tried to turn himself in on Wednesday at 9 a.m. only to leave for lunch and then return later when he was arrested. He has no prior criminal record and no longer lives at the same address as the child. Mr. D'Amato asked for $5,000 bail. 

Justice Rana set bail at $50,000, which was not immediately posted. 

A temporary order of protection was issued for the alleged victim. Mr. Bacuilima is to stay away from her and her family and refrain from any and all contact, including through a third party or on social media, Justice Rana said. He is due back in court on April 9.

This article has been updated since it was first published. 

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