Modified: November 25, 2016 11:29am
An Erie County jury took less than hour to convict 52-year-old Robert Arida, formerly of the City of Tonawanda, of one count of Forcible Touching and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child for his conduct with a 16-year-old juvenile in 2013.
Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. explained, “Forcible Touching means someone forcibly touched the sexual or intimate parts of another person, without her consent, for the purpose of degrading that person or gratifying the actor’s sexual desire. When this crime is committed against a child younger than 17-years-old, as the jury found this defendant did, then he must register as a Sex Offender.”
City of Tonawanda Police Chief William Strassburg said, “This department and our officers have been completely invested in the pursuit of justice in this case and for the victim from the beginning. Detective Lieutenant Scott Sheehan, Detective Joseph Scarpena and Officer Corie Scholl worked tirelessly to collect evidence and testified in a suppression hearing which allowed key evidence to be introduced into the case and would have gladly testified in this trial, if it were necessary.”
Acting DA Flaherty went on to praise the efforts of Det./Lt. Scott Sheehan and Det. Joseph Scarpena: “This case could have easily been swept under the rug and forgotten. The City of Tonawanda Police refused to let that happen, and they deserve a lot of credit for seeing this through and bringing this defendant to justice.”
Acting DA Flaherty added, “Although we are making strides, too often victims do not report these types of assaults for fear of being blamed themselves and the social stigma; of course, it would be unconscionable to suggest that a 16-year-old juvenile is responsible for the criminal conduct of a 52-year-old man. This juvenile showed tremendous courage to come forward and report this defendant’s crimes and confront him in court.”
Arida moved to South Carolina around the time this matter was scheduled for trial. Following the jury’s verdict, Judge Dean E. Lilac, Jr. remanded him into the custody of the Sheriff pending his January 19, 2017 sentencing.
Following sentencing, Judge Lilac will schedule a hearing to determine Arida’s Sex Offender Registration Level.
Flaherty praised the efforts of Special Victims Prosecutor Ryan D. Haggerty for “once again achieving justice for a victim and helping to keep the rest of us safe.”