The case of a man accused of repeatedly threatening or contacting his ex-wife, despite multiple court orders to cease such actions, continued down a new path this past week. The woman has since fled East Hampton, where she was seeking shelter when one of the alleged threats on her life was made. She has sought shelter in undisclosed locations across eastern Long Island, but the defendant allegedly continues to harass her.
Pietro Amato, 24, of Massapequa, had been facing a felony charge of criminal contempt of court in a Nassau County courtroom for an incident in which he had physically harassed the woman, leading to his arrest June 21. He remained in county jail after that arrest until July 10, when he was allowed to plead guilty to the same charge, but at the misdemeanor level, with the understanding that he would get a sentence of three years of probation.
He also has similar open charges in two cases in Suffolk County, stemming from another pair of incidents that allegedly occurred in May.
After taking that July 10 plea, according to East Hampton Town police, Amato immediately began contacting his ex-wife via text, email, and Facebook. In one of the messages, police reported, he said that while in jail he’d met a gangbanger, and told his ex-wife he could have her killed for $500. She had come to East Hampton to try to elude Amato, police said.
Arrested and brought to East Hampton August 1, Amato was arraigned by Town Justice Lisa Rana, who had worked before starting her law career as a volunteer rape crisis counselor for St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. She set bail at $75,000, an amount Amato could not meet.
District Attorney Tim Sini’s office had until August 6 to obtain an indictment from a grand jury, or release Amato, under the law governing felony charges and bail.
But, instead of getting an indictment, the DA’s office brought a new charge. According to the new charge, the day before he was arrested, to be brought to East Hampton, he again tried to contact his ex-wife. By this time, she had fled East Hampton, seeking shelter from Amato in yet another undisclosed location in western Suffolk County.
Instead of releasing him outright on August 6, as the law would normally require, he was turned over by the Sheriff’s department at the county jail in Riverside to the Suffolk County police, who rearrested him on the new charge, and transported him to Central Islip. There, bail on the new felony criminal contempt charge was set at $7500, creating a new indictment deadline of August 12.
After the newest charge was added to Amato’s Suffolk County docket, he retained a private attorney, Daniel Tanon. On August 12, Tanon waived his client’s right to be released if not indicted. All three Suffolk County cases were adjourned until September 5. In addition, he is still facing the felony charge in East Hampton. His sentencing date in Nassau County has been moved up to August 27. Amato is currently in custody at the Suffolk County Riverside facility.