This happened in August of 2005. I had heard about it, but did not know who it was until recently. If the address in the article sounds familiar to you, it's because you probably know it. It's the same building where the Zapatas live. I went to H.S. with him...so weird to read news about somebody you went to school with. It happens. Unfortunately he is now out and about - on bail. How did his family raise the $50,000 dollar bail? If I were his family, I'd leave him in jail!
Man accused of molesting 9-year-old in park arraigned
A Queens man accused of molesting and punching a 9-year-old girl in Astoria Park was arraigned Tuesday on charges of sexual abuse, attempted kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child and ordered held on $50,000 bail.
The suspect, Peter Belegrinos, 23, a former city hospital worker who lives near the park, did not speak during the proceeding in Queens County Criminal Court but his attorney said he pleads not guilty.
Belegrinos, of 20-64 24th St. in Astoria, who was wearing a blue T-shirt and long gray shorts, was arrested after the Monday attack after police matched him to the license plate of a car he left near the park. Police rushed to the park after receiving a 911 call about a child being assaulted.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Scotti told the court that the attack took place after Belegrinos approached the girl, her 12-year-old sister and a 9-year-old boy at Ditmars and Shore boulevards about 3 p.m. and asked them if they wanted to play "the kissing game."
The other two children ran away toward some bushes and Belegrinos told the 9-year-old girl to get into his car so they could catch up with them, Scotti said. But she ran off before he could get her in the car.
Scotti said Belegrinos then chased down the 9-year-old girl in his 1999 black Lincoln Town Car and grabbed her. He said Belegrinos punched her in the face, lifted her skirt, pulled down her underwear and groped her. The complaint said that as she tried to scream, he put his hand over her mouth and told her, "Can't you ever shut up."
Legal Aid attorney Howard Turman, in seeking $1,000 bail, said his client's recollection of what happened "differs dramatically than what the people claim."
Turman said Belegrinos, who plans to retain his own attorney, is in the Army Reserves, has an associate degree from Queensboro College and has been accepted into Lehman College to study nursing. He said his client has no criminal history.
The complaint says Belegrinos was suspended from his job at Psych Tech at Elmhurst Hospital in April.
At Turman's request, Criminal Court Judge Deborah Modica ordered that Belegrinos be held in protective custody.
Turman said that several relatives said they hoped to raise the bail money. In the meantime, several parents whose children play at the park expressed fear that such a thing could happen in what they said is normally a peaceful place."
BY DEBORAH S. MORRIS and PETE BOWLESSTAFF WRITERS
Staff writer Anthony Pardo contributed to this story.
Link to full story: http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-park0810,0,3391902.story?coll=nyc-moreny-headlines