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Bergenfield man accused of sexually assaulting pre-teen rejects plea deal

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

ONLY ON CVP: A Colombian national from Bergenfield will go to trial on charges of sexually assaulting a pre-teenage girl after refusing a plea bargain that includes mandatory Megan’s Law registration.

Megan’s Law was the “sticking point” in the plea offer given to 52-year-old Luis E. Lopez, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Kristin DeMarco told a judge in Hackensack yesterday.

Authorities would have recommended an eight-year prison sentence in exchange for the plea, she said.

Instead, Lopez could face up to 40 years behind bars if he’s convicted of all counts, Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi told him through an interpreter.

Under the No Early Release Act, Lopez wouldn’t be eligible for parole for more than 34 years if a jury convicts him, she said.

For eight years, the plea offer, you’d serve 6 years and 9 months,” DeAvila-Silebi added.

“Megan’s Law is a statutory requirement and is mandatory,” the judge told Lopez. “It has nothing to do with the prosecutor or the court.”

DeAvila-Silebi set an Oct. 6 trial date after he rejected the deal.

Lopez is charged with aggravated sexual assault on the girl when she was 12 years old and again when she was 13.

He was indicted for at least two alleged instances of digital penetration of her vagina; intentionally rubbing or touching the girl’s vagina; impairing or debauching the morals of a minor through sexual conduct; and sexual contact for allegedly rubbing his penis with the girl’s foot.

Defense attorney W.N. Gonzalez, defendant Luis Lopez, interpreter (STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)

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