Man Pleads Guilty to Sex With Under-Age Girls

Fidel Castro-Brito pleaded guilty Thursday to 76 sexual assault charges stemming from relationships with underaged girls he had met online. East Hampton Town Police

Fidel Castro-Brito, an East Hampton man who had been charged with a total of 76 counts of sex crimes against young girls, including having sex with a person between 9 and 10 years old, pleaded guilty on Thursday in Riverhead to all charges against him. Mr. Castro-Brito, 24, appeared in New York Supreme Court Judge Barbara R. Kahn's courtroom. He is to be sentenced on June 21.

Police said at the time of his arrest that Mr. Castro-Brito used social media to initiate contact with his victims. Though police do not release information about victims in sexual assault and rape cases, the charges themselves indicate age ranges for the victims, with the youngest being between 9 and 10, and the oldest being between 15 and 16 years old.

Detective Lt. Chris Anderson of the East Hampton Town police said that the investigation took the police across jurisdictional lines, with all the sexual assaults occurring in downstate New York.

Besides recordings made by Mr. Castro-Brito of some of the incidents were recovered by police when investigators seized his laptop, there apparently was DNA evidence left behind on the victims or their clothing. Judge Kahn had ordered DNA samples to be taken from Mr. Castro-Brito in April 2012.

The case began early last year, when an East Hampton father arrived home, surprising Mr. Castro-Brito in his daughter's bedroom. Mr. Castro-Brito fled, climbing out a bedroom window. Police took him into custody a short time later.

He was initially charged with four felony counts and one misdemeanor, with the most serious charge for predatory sexual assault on a child, according to court records.

At first, investigators believed the matter to be an isolated incident. But East Hampton Town Police Detective Tina Giles had a hunch about the case arising from conversations she had with Mr. Castro-Brito. Detective Giles speaks Spanish conversationally, although she declined, in an interview earlier this year, to call herself fluent in the language.

Her ability to speak Spanish both with Mr. Casto-Brito and his suspected victims enabled her to get a sense of the scope of Mr. Castro-Brito's activities. With the East Hampton Town detective squad leading the way, along with other law enforcement agencies, the case was built against Mr. Castro-Brito, to the point where 71 more charges, 68 of which were felonies, were brought against him in November. He was indicted on the additional charges in December.

Included in the charges Mr. Castro-Brito pleaded guilty to were seven class A felonies. A class A felony is punishable in New York State by up to life in prison, with the minimum time to be served for a class A predatory sexual assault conviction being no fewer than 10 years.