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LOCKPORT –A Mexican citizen who has lived in Lockport for years accepted a plea deal Wednesday in connection with what was originally a statutory rape case.

Martimiano Vazquez-Santiago, 33, of Locust Street, was indicted in April on charges of third-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl in Somerset twice in the fall of 2011.

On June 4, he was offered a misdemeanor plea to sexual misconduct, but he rejected it because it would have required him to register as a sex offender and be deported after his sentence.

Defense attorney Dominic Saraceno told Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III that Wednesday’s guilty plea to endangering the welfare of a child, which was rewritten to say the crime was physical contact rather than sexual contact, might stop the deportation process, which has already begun. Saraceno said his client would be eligible to stay because he is the father of three children, who are U.S. citizens.

Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 6; the maximum is a year in jail.