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DA: Riverhead man indicted for sexual abuse; Good Samaritan alerted police from Route 58 parking lot

A Riverhead man who allegedly sexually abused a child in a Route 58 parking lot was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini.

Jose Samuel Carabantes Pineda, 35, was charged with predatory sexual assault against a child, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual conduct against a child — all felonies —  and a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

“This individual allegedly subjected a child to months of sexual abuse,” Mr. Sini said in a press release. “Thanks to the bravery of the victim, the heroic act of the Good Samaritan who intervened, and the swift actions of the Riverhead Town Police Department, this alleged predator was apprehended. My office will do everything in our power to hold him accountable for these heinous acts.”

On March 20, Mr. Carabantes Pineda allegedly drove the victim to the Big Lots parking lot in Riverhead, restrained her with duct tape in the back of his minivan and sexually assaulted her, according to Mr. Sini.

“A good Samaritan in the parking lot heard screaming coming from the vehicle, knocked on the windows, then observed the defendant get into the driver’s seat and pull away,” the district attorney said.

The good Samaritan called 911 and provided information about the vehicle to police, and also attempted to follow the minivan.

Prosecutors said Mr. Carabantes Pineda returned to his home, made the victim get into a different vehicle and drove around while telling the victim what she should say to the police if they were caught, according to Mr. Sini.
When they arrived back at the house, Riverhead Town Police were already present and arrested Mr. Carabantes Pineda, according to the DA.

Mr. Carabantes Pineda was arraigned on the indictment in front of Suffolk County Acting Supreme Court Justice Chris Ann Kelley Wednesday and was remanded without bail. He is being represented by the Legal Aid Society and is due back in court April 13.

If convicted of the top count, Mr. Carabantes Pineda faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Crystal Igneri, of the Child Abuse & Domestic Violence Bureau, according to Mr. Sini.