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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Runaway case leads to prison sentence

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  •  A 29-year-old man who sexually assaulted a 15-year-old runaway girl was sentenced Thursday to 36 to 120 months in a state correctional facility.
    Damian Acosta, whose last address was listed as Honesdale, was sentenced on felony charges of statutory sexual assault and interfering with the custody of a child.
    He previously pleaded guilty to the charges.
    The defendant must also pay restitution not to exceed $5,000 and has been given credit for 300 days served.
    Wayne County President Judge Raymond Hamill noted Acosta had sexual relations with the girl and took her away from her mother.
    "It's doesn't matter if she's willing or not, she's 15," the judge said in court.
    The case stems from a 2013 incident in which the girl was reported as a runaway after she fled via bus with Acosta from Honesdale to New York City.
    She was gone for about a week, according to paperwork.
    The girl was eventually recovered and returned to her family and Acosta was arrested by New York City police.
    According to paperwork, police in Honesdale received information the two were staying at a home on Winter Avenue in Staten Island.
    Honesdale officers contacted officials at the 120th Precinct of the New York City Police Department and Acosta and the girl were located.
    Acosta's lawyer, Ashley Zimmerman, told the court Thursday that her client knows what he did was wrong.
    Acosta, who also has a criminal record in New York, did not address the court.
    Zimmerman said her client has no significant work record and supported himself through the "drug culture."
    Hamill asked what would be different for Acosta when he is paroled from prison.
    Page 2 of 2 - Zimmerman said Acosta hopes to "transition back into the community" with the help of the county's parole office.
    The New York parole office that dealt with Acosta basically "dumped him on the street," Zimmerman told the judge.
    Acosta has not been determined to be a violent sexual predator, Hamill said.
    Acosta will be monitored through the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
    The act organizes sex offenders into tiers and updates their whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements.
    Other cases from Thursday will be reported on in a future edition.

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