Fidel Castro-Brito, an East Hampton man charged with 76 counts of rape involving girls as young as 9, pleaded guilty as charged in State Supreme Court, Riverhead, last Thursday.
East Hampton Town police said at the time of his arrest that Mr. Castro-Brito, 24, had found his victims, who ranged in age from 9 to 16, through the Internet. The investigation took the police across jurisdictional lines, with all the assaults occurring in downstate New York.
The guilty plea “will spare these young girls the stress and anxiety of recounting, on the witness stand, what this child molester did to them,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement.
Mr. Castro-Brito made recordings of some of the incidents, which were recovered when investigators seized his laptop. DNA evidence figured in the case as well.
The investigation began early last year when an East Hampton father surprised the man in his daughter’s bedroom. Mr. Castro-Brito fled through a bedroom window but was taken into custody soon after. He was initially charged with four felony counts, including predatory sexual assault on a child, and a misdemeanor.
Town police at first believed it to be an isolated incident, but Tina Giles, a Spanish-speaking detective, had a hunch about the case after talking with both the victim and the accused. With the town detective squad leading the way and other law enforcement agencies assisting, the case against Mr. Castro-Brito grew to the point where 71 more charges, 68 of them felonies, were brought against him in November.
Mr. Spota said Ms. Giles’s role in gathering critical evidence “is the reason he’s no longer a threat to the community.”
A class A felony is punishable in New York State by up to life in prison. Mr. Castro-Brito is to be sentenced on June 21.