Five Bridgehampton men have been indicted this week on charges they sexually abused an underage girl.
Four of the men, Gregorio Saldivar, 41; Refugio Saldivar, 31; Miguel Saldivar, 38; and Marco Saldivar, 35, were charged with first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a felony charge that carries a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison upon a conviction.
Gregorio Saldivar, who prosecutors said was arrested in Queens, was also charged with second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a felony punishable up to seven years in prison, and third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor punishable up to three months in jail. Felix Saldivar, 72, faces a charge of second-degree course of sexual conduct as well as three counts of third-degree sexual abuse.
Refugio and Gregorio Saldivar were additionally charged with rape; Refugio with first-degree rape, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison upon a conviction, and Gregorio with third-degree rape, which carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.
Refugio, Miguel, and Marco Saldivar were charged with first-degree criminal sex act, a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison, and sexual abuse, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Marco Saldivar is additionally charged with third-degree criminal sex act, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
All five men were charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor, which is punishable of up to a year in jail.
They all pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, June 19, before Judge Barbara Kahn in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverside.
Prosecutors said a sixth man, 31-year-old Alberto Guerrero, was arraigned on June 13 for forcible touching, a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum jail term of one year. His place of residence and further details about his arrest were not released by press time.
Abuse Went On For Years
Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Melissa Grier, a prosecutor with the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau, alleged the abuse took place over a period of years up until this year. In May, another person walked in on Marco Saldivar abusing the victim, Grier said. The incident prompted an investigation, according to the DA’s office.
Investigators also allegedly have a shirt belonging to Marco Saldivar that is being analyzed for physical evidence, Grier said.
She also alleged that in April or March, Refugio Saldivar raped the victim in a car after he pulled over to the side of the road in Sag Harbor.
A temporary restraining order was reissued from the court, barring the defendants from contacting the victim.
The victim is not being identified due to the fact that the crimes are sexual in nature and she is a minor.
None of the men had posted bail by this paper’s deadline.
High Bail Set
Marco Saldivar, who has a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated, is being held on $300,000 bail.
“They are obviously alleging additional instances,” said his attorney, Brian DeSesa of Bridgehampton, of the upgraded charges in a phone interview. “I haven’t had an opportunity to review them yet.”
Miguel Saldivar has two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated, including one misdemeanor and one felony, and could be sentenced to up to 28 years in prison based on the recent charges he faces, Grier said. He is being held on $200,000 bail.
In a phone interview after the arraignments, Miguel Saldivar’s attorney, David Geller of the Legal Aid Society in Riverhead, said that his client “denies he did anything.” He noted the case is rare, given the number of co-defendants and that he is waiting to learn what evidence the DA’s office has in the case.
Refugio Saldivar does not have any prior convictions and has been in the United States legally since 1997, his attorney, Christian Killoran of Westhampton Beach, told the court at the arraignment. He was most recently employed at Espresso’s in Sag Harbor, and previously worked as a cook at Puccio’s. He has three brothers and one sister in the states and his family was in the courtroom to support him, according to Killoran.
Killoran noted his client only had about $1000 to go toward bail; however, Kahn said that due to the fact that he is facing three felonies she described as “extremely serious charges,” she set bail at $150,000 cash or $300,000 bond.
Felix Saldivar is being held on $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond. If he posts bail, will be required to turn over his passport. His attorney, Lane Bubke of Riverhead, said he is “gainfully employed” and had his wife and other family members in court supporting him.
Gregorio Saldivar, whom prosecutors noted has ties in Mexico, is being held on $300,000 cash or bond. Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have placed a detainer on him. This means that even if he posts bail, he will not be freed, but instead turned over to ICE, which will begin another legal proceeding outside of the charges he faces, to decide whether he should be deported once his criminal charges are adjudicated.
Gregorio Saldivar’s attorney, Keith O’Halloran of Hauppauge, has declined to comment on the case.
The Saldivars are scheduled to appear again before Judge Kahn in separately arranged conferences next month. It is unclear when Guerrero is expected to appear in court next.