Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A Mexican citizen living in Lockport is looking at up to a year in Niagara County Jail after admitting Wednesday to having inappropriate physical contact with a Barker girl under the age of 17.
Martimiano Vasquez-Santiago, 32, of Locust Street, pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor. He admitted to having physical contact twice in the fall of 2011 with a girl who was 15-years-old at that time.
As part of the plea deal, Vasquez-Santiago waived his right to appeal and received a full stay-away order from the victim.
In December, Vasquez-Santiago was arrested by state troopers and was charged with third-degree rape and child endangerment originally. Vasquez-Santiago, who has been living in the United States for 12 years, also faces possible deportation, his attorney Dominic Saraceno said.
Prior to the plea deal agreement, a motion was filed by Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols that would have kept the defense from bringing up the victim’s sexual history during trial.
Saraceno said Vasquez-Santiago admitted to having sexual contact with the victim while being questioned by a state trooper in December. The trooper reportedly said in an Aug. 12 court hearing he told Vasquez-Santiago that the victim’s baby looked like him.
The child is not Vasquez-Santiago’s, Saraceno said in court. He questioned how voluntarily Vasquez-Santiago’s admission really was.
”It would be harmful if I weren’t allowed to ask about that,” Saraceno said.
Nichols cited the state’s rape shield law, which does not allow that type of evidence to be used, with a few exceptions.
County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III ruled that none of those exceptions to the rape shield law were applicable in Vasquez-Santiago’s case. After a short break, Vasquez-Santiago agreed to the plea deal.