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Bay Shore man sentenced for second child sexual assault

A Bay Shore man sentenced last year for violent, sexual assault against a 10-year-old girl was given another 25 years to life in prison Monday for similar crimes against an 11-year-old girl, the Suffolk District Attorney's office said.

Juan Pablo Zelaya, 30, was sentenced in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead after being found guilty in March of predatory sexual assault of a child, first-degree rape and other charges against the girl in the spring of 2012, prosecutors said.

He was given a consecutive sentence, to be served after the 25 years to life he got a year ago for predatory sexual assault, first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the summer of 2012.

"The maliciousness of these sex crimes makes him deserving of the maximum punishment under the law," District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a news release. "But also deserving of consideration at his sentencing on Monday should be the startling fact that this predator lured his victims into a bedroom by telling each girl that he wanted to pray with them."

Zelaya's attorney, Steve Fondulis of Port Jefferson, said sexual assault charges over a third girl were dropped by the district attorney's office during the recent trial.

Fondulis plans to file an appeal of the latest conviction and sentence next week. Zelaya also appealed his first conviction, the attorney said.

"From the beginning, he's always maintained his innocence," Fondulis said.

Zelaya was an unemployed immigrant from El Salvador and claimed to be a preacher at a church, authorities said. He was arrested in September 2012, and the court testimony of the victim in the first case helped lead to the jury's guilty verdict. He was then held for his second trial.

If he ever gets out of prison, he will be deported, prosecutors said.

"A 50-years-to-life sentence is, without question, appropriate, considering the human suffering for which he's responsible," Spota said.

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