An East Hampton man arrested on June 15 on a charge of child sex abuse stemming from an alleged 2004 incident was released yesterday after time ran out on the Suffolk 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 arrested by East Hampton Town police and charged with the alleged sexual abuse of a victim who was under 13 at the time.
After being jailed because he was unable to come up with $200,000 bail, Mr. Soto was released yesterday, after the Suffolk district attorney was unable to produce an indictment within the required period following his arrest. An indictment is required 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 Suffolk district attorney, an indictment “is still in process.” The reason for the lack of one was not explained.
The law cited in the arrest, committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree, for which there is no statute of limitations, would indicate that police believe Mr. Soto, allegedly had either oral or anal sexual relations with a child under 13.
Police have released very little information because of the nature of the case and the age of the alleged victim at the time of the incident.
“There was a disclosure made by the victim to a third party,” Detective Lt. Christopher Anderson said Tuesday about the arrest. After learning of the allegations, police opened an investigation, obtaining a statement from the alleged victim, as well as from the third party.
Bail was initially set at $200,000 by East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana.
Mr. Soto’s family gathered in court on Thursday before his release.
Outside the courtroom, three generations of Mr. Soto’s family gathered around a picnic table under a huge oak tree. Several of them said at one time they had been close to the family of the alleged victim, and believe they know the motivation of the accuser.
“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, Mr. Soto’s nephew.
“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.”