The third of six men accused of sexually abusing and raping a Sag Harbor woman over a period of 10 years, starting when she was a child, through her mid-teens, pleaded guilty as charged March 22 in the county courtroom of Justice Mark Cohen in Riverside.
Before entering his guilty plea, Refugio Saldivar, 32, was told by Cohen that he would likely be sentenced to five years in state prison when he returns to court April 24, and would be classified as a sex offender. He also was told that, after being released, he would have 15 years of monitored freedom, though that may be moot, since it is expected that Saldivar will be deported back to Mexico.
The parents of the victim, whose identity will not be released due to the nature of the charges, were acquainted with Saldivar, and had trusted him.
Saldivar’s attorney, Jason Bassett, spoke privately with three women who were in the courtroom in support of the guilty man, before Saldivar was brought into the courtroom, shackled.
Saldivar was facing up to 50 years in state prison. Cohen explained that, in allowing Salidvar to plead guilty as charged, including counts of rape in the first degree, sexual conduct against a child, and compulsion to commit an illegal sex act, all B felonies, Cohen was accounting for the welfare of the victim, and the possible trauma she would undergo if she was put on the witness stand during a trial.
Before Saldivar’s guilty plea was entered, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Melissa Grier, a prosecutor with the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau, went through the allocution, in which Saldivar admitted to two specific crimes. The first time he had sex with the victim, she was not even 10 years old, he told the court. Then, last year, she was riding in his pickup truck on Route 114 when he pulled off the road and forced himself upon her.
Five of the six men are all named Saldivar, and are related. A sixth man, whose name is not Saldivar, is a cousin to the other men.
Previously, it appeared that Miguel Saldivar was headed to trial. He was facing three felony charges, including sexual conduct against a child, and committing a criminal sex act by force. A jury was actually selected in that case. But, on March 14, the day the trial was supposed to begin in earnest, Miguel Saldivar pleaded guilty as charged. He will be sentenced April 17.
Marco Saldivar pleaded guilty to similar charges as Miguel on February 28, and will be sentenced April 2.
The remaining two defendants named Saldivar are Felix and Gregorio. As with all the others, except for Felix, Gregorio Saldivar has been in county jail since his arrest last June, unable to post the $300,000 bail Cohen had set for him. Gregorio is facing three felony charges, and is due back in court April 18, while Felix Saldivar, who is facing one felony charge, was due back in court March 27.
The sixth man’s name is not currently known to The Independent, though the District Attorney’s office has said it is forthcoming.
The Southampton Town police, the arresting agency, has never released the names of the defendants.