LOCKPORT – A Lockport man was arraigned in Niagara County Court Friday on child sexual abuse charges that could land him in prison for the rest of his life if he is convicted.
Juan Rivera-Stupia III, 31, whose last known address was on Oliver Street, pleaded not guilty to two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, aggravated and regular first-degree sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said Rivera-Stupia allegedly abused a girl under age 9 from April through December 2012, including one incident in which the girl was injured with a plastic object.
Donatello said Rivera-Stupia had a sexual misconduct conviction in Rochester in 1999, but he was granted youthful offender status, so he’s not a registered sex offender.
Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas accepted Donatello’s recommendation to increase Rivera-Stupia’s bail from $25,000 to $100,000.
Assistant Public Defender A. Joseph Catalano said it doesn’t matter what the bail is, because the unemployed Rivera-Stupia couldn’t make the lower amount anyway.
Farkas set a tentative trial date of June 17.
In another sex case before Farkas Friday, the court-appointed defense attorney for David J. Grover said plea negotiations are under way.
Grover, 34, of Niagara Falls Boulevard, Town of Tonawanda, is accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing a 5-year-old North Tonawanda girl on July 28.
Grover turned down a plea offer in December, when he was represented by the public defender’s office. Assistant Public Defender Michele G. Bergevin had to withdraw from the case when she belatedly learned that Grover’s brother Kevin, whom she had once represented in a Family Court matter, had testified against David Grover before the grand jury.
The new attorney, David C. Douglas, had a lengthy meeting with Farkas and prosecutors Friday. Afterward, Farkas announced that the case was being adjourned until Feb. 14, which she said would be Grover’s last chance to plead guilty before going to trial March 18.
Douglas said, “Sentencing is the key issue we’re grappling with.” He said if Grover is dissatisfied with the sentence in a new plea offer, the case will go to trial.