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DA: Riverhead man charged with sexual assault on minor in store parking lot

A Riverhead man restrained a minor with duct tape and sexually assaulted her in minivan parked in a retail store lot earlier this month, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

A grand jury indictment, released Wednesday in Central Islip, charged Jose Samuel Carabantes Pineda, 35, with sexually abusing the child on multiple occasions since the fall of 2020.

Carabantes Pineda was charged with predatory sexual assault against a child; two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act; first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

Suffolk County Acting Supreme Court Justice Chris Ann Kelley Wednesday remanded Carabantes Pineda without bail.

If convicted of the top count, Carabantes Pineda faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

"This individual allegedly subjected a child to months of sexual abuse," said Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini. "Thanks to the bravery of the victim, the heroic act of the Good Samaritan who intervened, and the swift actions of the Riverhead Town Police Department, this alleged predator was apprehended. "

Carabantes Pineda is being represented by the Legal Aid Society, which does not comment on criminal cases. He is due back in court on April 13.

On March 20, Carabantes Pineda drove the victim to the parking lot of the Big Lots store in Riverhead, restrained her with duct tape in the back of his minivan and sexually assaulted the girl, prosecutors said.

A bystander heard screaming coming from the vehicle and knocked on the windows, prosecutors said. Carabantes Pineda then moved into the driver’s seat and drove away, authorities said.

The bystander called 911, provided details about the vehicle to authorities and attempted to follow the minivan, prosecutors said.

Carabantes Pineda returned to his home, forced the victim into a different vehicle and drove around while telling her what she should say to authorities if they were called, officials said.

When they arrived back at his house, Riverhead Town Police were on the scene and arrested Carabantes Pineda.

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