ONLY ON CVP: Thanks to a plea deal, a Mexican immigrant from Fair Lawn man who repeatedly molested a 10-year-old family member could be freed after spending little more than 16 months behind bars.
Although eligibility doesn’t mean that Jose Anguiano will get parole, Superior Judge James J. Guida yesterday warned the girl’s family to prepare because “it is highly likely [he] will be out soon.”
The girl’s parents both spoke emotionally but agreed to the terms of the plea agreement, sparing the girl the ordeal of a trial.
Meanwhile, relatives and friends who attended yesterday’s proceeding in Hackensack left the courtroom angry and confused, with some crying and calling out.
Anguiano, 46, who is married, admitted touching the girl’s vagina and buttocks several times between September 2012 and his arrest nine months later.
A convict who has already pleaded guilty in court to a crime ordinarily doesn’t re-enter an admission during sentencing, but the judge required it after Anguiano tried recanting during an interview with investigators at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel.
Anguiano’s behavior was typical of a predator who is “grooming” a child so that he “could go further,” Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Marybel Mercado Ramirez told Guida.
When the child finally reached the point that she couldn’t take the abuse, she called her mother before coming home, Ramirez said.
“Mom, is it OK if I leave?” she asked. “I can’t stay here. I have to go.”
Defense attorney John Somohano countered that his client wished to be sentenced to Avenel, and not state prison, something he said he’d never heard in 14 years of practicing law.
Avenel is a secure treatment facility vastly different from state prison, in that convicts can be held there indefinitely, regardless of their sentences, if they are deemed to be a risk of repeating a sexual crime.
“I have never been in court before, and I know I am here because I deserve it,” Anguino told judge through an interpreter. “I want to apologize to the girl, the girl’s parents, and all of my family.
“I ask if they can please forgive me, and I ask if you can give me the minimum because I have three tumors in my head and I want to have them operated on.”
“He’s accepting responsibility, and he realizes the affect his actions have had on people,” his lawyer added. “One can only hope over time, treatment and therapy will give him the tools necessary to avoid this pitfall prior to another incident.”
Guida said five years was “unfortunately the maximum sentence” for the deal that prosecutors struck with Anguiano.
Having already spent 480 days in jail, he’ll be eligible for parole as soon as he’s transferred to state prison, the judge said.
“It is a sad case and difficult from every standpoint but legal,” Guida said. “Literally, there is a split in the family.
“To some extent there is reconciliation with others in the family, but these crimes will stay with the family a long time.”
As for Anguiano’s request, Guida said he doesn’t qualify for Avenel based on his statements to investigators.
Still, the judge conceded: “He may be asking for Avenel just because he wants a lighter sentence, but it may be because he has a problem.”
STORY / PHOTO: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
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