An East Hampton man arrested on June 15 on a charge of child sex abuse stemming from an alleged 2004 incident was released last Thursday after time ran out for the Suffolk County district attorney to get an indictment.
“This is all just a lie. All we can do is stand strong with our faith,” said Mary Soto, a niece of Martin A. Soto, 48, who was charged by East Hampton Town police. The alleged victim was under 13 at the time.
After being jailed in lieu of $200,000 bail, Mr. Soto was released when the D.A.’s office failed to produce an indictment within the required period. State law requires an indictment within 120 hours after an arrest is made, or, as in Mr. Soto’s case, 144 hours if a weekend is involved.
According to Melissa Aguanno, an assistant county D.A., an indictment “is still in process.” She would not comment further.
Mr. Soto was charged with committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree, for which there is no statute of limitations. Police have released very little information about either the accuser or the alleged victim.
Outside the courtroom last Thursday, three generations of Mr. Soto’s family gathered around a picnic table under a huge oak tree before his release. Several said they had been close to the family of the alleged victim at one time, and speculated as to the accuser’s motivation.
“My uncle built a house for them, and this is how they repay them. They want more from my uncle. They want money from him,” said Andy Soto.
“Everything is going to be fine,” Mary Soto said, her eyes welling with tears. “This is all just a bad dream. It is going to end, soon.”
Detective Lt. Christopher Anderson would not rule out further charges when he spoke about the case last week.
“I appreciate that the district attorney’s office is acting carefully, without rushing to indictment,” Mr. Soto’s attorney, Stephen Grossman, said yesterday.
Mr. Soto is due back in court on July 19.