A Middle Village man failed to show up in court on Monday morning to hear a jury decide his fate, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
Jose Para, 37, of 83rd Place was convicted on April 30 of first-degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child for molesting a young girl on her way to school in Elmhurst nearly two years ago.
Brown, however, noted that Para was a no-show when the jurors returned from deliberations; Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter, who presided over the weeklong trial, issued a bench warrant for his immediate arrest.
Prosecutors said that Para approached the then-11-year-old girl on Albion Avenue near Queens Boulevard just before 8 a.m. on June 23, 2016, as she was walking to school; the two did not know to each other. He engaged in a conversation with her, then commented on her shirt and grabbed her right breast.
Police said the girl ran away from Para and, upon arriving at her school, informed school officials of the attack. Following an investigation, the NYPD Queens Child Abuse Squad arrested Para a week later.
“A child walking to school in broad daylight should never have to worry about a stranger approaching and touching her inappropriately,” Brown said on April 30. “A jury weighed the evidence and found the defendant guilty of violating this young victim. The defendant, who was out on bail, fled the Courthouse during jury deliberations. He faces a considerable amount of time in prison.”
When he is sentenced, Para faces up to seven years in prison, Brown added.
Anyone who knows where Para is should call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS; all calls are kept confidential.