Police: Barber indicted for attempted sexual abuse involving 11-year-old boy

A Riverhead man was indicted Tuesday for allegedly attempting to sexually abuse a young boy.

Hilario Hernandez de la Cruz, 35, was indicted for an attempted criminal sexual act in the first degree and three other related charges for allegedly attempting to sexually abuse an 11-year-old in his place of business, Larry’s Barbershop at 1352 East Main St., Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced Tuesday.

“This defendant allegedly attempted to touch an 11-year-old boy inappropriately and offered the child money to satisfy his own sexual desires,” Mr. Tierney said in a press release. “Thankfully, the victim knew what the defendant was allegedly asking him to do was wrong, and he left the shop to call for help. We ask anyone who has been victimized by this defendant, or may have information about other victims, to contact the Riverhead Police Department as soon as possible.”

In the evening hours of Monday, July 10, the child and his father, whose names are being withheld to protect the victim’s identity, were customers at Larry’s Barbershop, according to the district attorney’s office. The father had consumed alcohol with the barber, later identified as Mr. Hernandez de la Cruz, and became intoxicated. After several drinks, the father entered the shop’s bathroom. While left alone with the victim, Mr. Hernandez de la Cruz allegedly repeatedly offered the boy increasing sums of money in exchange for inappropriate sexual acts.

The defendant allegedly made sexually suggestive gestures and attempted to grab the child’s genitals. The 11-year-old repeatedly pushed his hands away before leaving the shop to phone his mother to pick him up. Upon hearing her son’s account of what transpired, she contacted the police.

The Riverhead Police Department arrested Mr. Hernandez de la Cruz on July 11. On Tuesday, he was arraigned before Judge Karen Wilutis on four charges, and is being held on $75,000 cash bail, $150,000 bond or $750,000 partially secured bond. If convicted of the top count, Mr. Hernandez de la Cruz faces up to 15 years in prison, followed by up to 15 years of post-release supervision. He is due back in court Aug. 30.

The victim’s father was also arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. His case is currently pending.