LOCKPORT – With the victim and her mother looking on, Juan Rivera-Stupia III just shook his head Wednesday when Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas asked him why he had sex repeatedly with a 7-year-old girl last year.
Farkas sentenced Rivera-Stupia, 32, to 20 years in state prison, to be followed by 20 years of post-release supervision. It was the most she could have imposed under terms of a plea bargain the judge ratified June 26.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said that Rivera-Stupia at one point contended that the girl enjoyed the incidents. “He doesn’t get it, judge, but 20 years will give him a lot of time to get it,” the prosecutor said.
Rivera-Stupia, of Oliver Street, Lockport, had pleaded guilty to first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. The legal maximum sentence for that is 25 years in prison and 20 years of post-release supervision, but Farkas had agreed to give Rivera-Stupia a prison term of between 15 and 20 years.
Donatello said that in the second incident in the series of attacks, Rivera-Stupia raped the girl with a plastic object, causing severe bleeding.
Defense attorney Dominic Saraceno of the county Conflict Defender’s Office called the crime “one of the worst things someone can do.” But he urged Farkas not to impose the maximum sentence, pointing to Rivera-Stupia’s mostly clean record.
His only other conviction was on a sexual misconduct charge when he was 18 and had sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, Saraceno said.
The prosecutor said the June 26 plea offer was made to spare the girl the anguish of testifying in a jury trial. Rivera-Stupia originally was indicted on a predatory sexual assault charge that carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The girl’s mother said she and her children have moved away, but she is still haunted by “the constant fear that someone will harm my babies.”
The mother said her now-8-year-old daughter suffers from depression, anxiety and “night terrors” and the mother herself is subject to panic attacks.
“Whatever the sentence is, it will never be long enough for what he has done to my baby girl and my family,” she said.