By Naeisha Rose
A Jamaica man was convicted last week of kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old girl that he convinced through social media to run away from home, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
A criminal complaint stated that Santiago Reyes, 31, engaged with a 15-year-old Toronto resident on Facebook four years ago and communicated with her online for nine months, urging her to run away after she complained about her parents being too strict and that she was bullied at her new school.
“While social media can be entertaining and informative, it can also be a very dangerous place for youngsters,” said District Attorney Brown. “The defendant in this case used Facebook to establish a relationship with the then-15-year-old girl and manipulated her.”
While she was on a family trip to New York City, the defendant picked up the teenager when her parents were out and took her to his house, according to the complaint.
Reyes lived on the second floor apartment of 87-25 144th St. in Jamaica, according to an indictment.
At the time of the encounter, the teenager was shocked to discover that Reyes was 27, and the defendant forced her to have sex with him while keeping her prisoner at his home, said the complaint.
According to Brown, “the defendant … held her against her will.”
In the indictment, the teenager told Officer Robert Patterson of the 107th Precinct that the defendant had sex with her twice from Aug. 3 to Aug. 4, 2014.
In the complaint, Reyes told the victim when she wanted to leave that there was no going back, according to Brown.
A jury convicted Reyes of kidnaping and rape last Monday after a two-week trial.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Kohm presided over the trial and is expected to sentence Reyes to 25 years to life next Thursday.
“The defendant will be incarcerated for his actions,” said Brown.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose