WOODBURY NJ (January 27, 2016)--Jose I. Gonzalez-Heredia (2/16/67), of Mantua NJ was convicted by a jury today of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child after a jury heard a girl testify that Gonzalez-Heredia improperly touched her while she was visiting a teenage friend who was living in the home of the defendant in May 2014.
The verdict came after a three-day trial and a day of jury deliberation. Superior Court Judge increased Gonzalez-Heredia’s bail to $125,000 from $20,000 and ordered him to surrender his Mexican passport. Before sentencing, he will be evaluated at the state’s Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center, a facility for sex offenders in Avenel NJ.
The sexual assault offense is a second-degree crime with a sentencing range of five to ten years in state prison. Endangering is a third-degree crime with a three-to five year prison sentence and sexual contact is a fourth-degree crime punishable by up to 18 months in prison.
In addition to the victim’s testimony, Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Dianna Reed-Rolando called as witnesses a sexual assault nurse-examiner, the friend the victim was visiting and the Mantua Township detective who interviewed Gonzalez-Heredia after the incident was reported to police. In a video of the interview, the defendant says “she was right” when asked about the girl’s allegation. “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking or trying to do,” he adds.
The victim was 14 years-old at the time of the incident on 5/26/14. The girl she was visiting had been living with Gonzalez-Heredia, a friend of her family, about a month. She left immediately after the incident, she testified.
The victim described waking up on a sofa to find Gonzalez –Heredia kneeling in front of her, and she recalled kicking a table twice to awaken her friend. Following the victim’s demand that he stop, the defendant, a restaurant employee, went upstairs and subsequently left for work, the girl testified. She then called her sister and after leaving the Gonzalez-Heredia house, she said police were called.
Gonzalez-Heredia took the witness stand and acknowledged touching the girl, but not to the extent in her account. He contended he stopped and was upset at what he’d done. He claimed the girl was awake during the incident and was using her cell phone.
In closing arguments to the jury, defense attorney John Falciani questioned the victim’s credibility. Reed-Rolando told the jury she “told you what the defendant did. She had no motive to lie. She was credible.”
source press release