The man charged with rape for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl in Montauk was indicted by a grand jury in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverside Friday on eight felony counts — four counts of rape and four counts of committing a criminal sexual act with a child under 15 years of age.
The eight counts corresponded to the four sexual encounters Juan Jose Zhingri-Deleg, 27, described to East Hampton Town Detective Tina Giles on Feb. 24, after he was brought in for questioning — two counts apiece for each alleged event, according to the police. According to his statement, the first occurred when the girl was 13. The police had been alerted by a close relative of the victim, who called after an alleged sexual encounter between the defendant and the 14-year-old on Feb. 22, when the mother and grandfather, with whom she lives, were out at church. The defendant does not speak English. Detective Giles speaks both languages.
Police and the court have removed the alleged victim’s name, as well as those of her relatives, from all documents.
According to a statement on file at the East Hampton Town Justice Court, Mr. Zhingri-Deleg reportedly told Detective Giles in Spanish that he is in love with the girl and did not want to lose her. Following his statement, he was charged with a single count of rape, as well as a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child, and was arraigned on Feb. 25 before East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky, who set bail at $100,000. Mr. Zhingri-Deleg, who is from Cuenca, Ecuador, has been in East Hampton since he was 17. He has no family here, but has a brother in New Jersey.
He was back in East Hampton Town Justice Court last Thursday. A group of people who appeared to be friends of the defendant were in the courtroom that day and had banded together to hire an attorney, Robert J. Coyle, to defend him. Mr. Coyle is one of the few local attorneys conversant in Spanish.
He said last Thursday that he was hoping to negotiate with the district attorney’s office and was hoping for an eventual return to Ecuador for Mr. Zhingri-Deleg. Mr. Coyle waived Mr. Zhingri-Deleg’s right to be released within 120 hours of arrest if not indicted on the single felony charge he had been arrested for.
The grand jury, taking into account the full scope of the apparent confession, added the seven felony charges to the docket on Friday.
The case has been assigned to Suffolk County Criminal Court Justice Barbara R. Kahn in Riverside. Justice Kahn’s court handles major sex crime cases on the East End. Mr. Zhingri-Deleg is to be arraigned on the eight felony charges in front of Justice Kahn today.