WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A serial groper entered guilty pleas Tuesday to a string of sex crimes in June, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
Guillermo Merino, 39, of 19 Washington Ave. in New Rochelle, faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 2, DiFiore said in a press statement.
New Rochelle police arrested Merino on June 30.
He is being held on $25,000 bail after entering guilty pleas on one count of persistent sexual abuse and one count of failure to register as a sex offender when he moved to New Rochelle from New York City earlier this year. Both are class “E” felonies.
DiFiore said that over a period of 11 days in June, in four separate incidents, the defendant inappropriately touched four women in New Rochelle:
-- On June 18, about 8 p.m.at the intersection of Sickles Avenue & Prince Street, he "intentionally and for no legitimate purpose grabbed the victim’s buttocks, without permission or consent, for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desire," the D.A. said.
-- On June 23,about 8:25 a.m. on Van Guilder Avenue, he "intentionally and for no legitimate purpose grabbed a second victim’s buttocks," again reportedly without permission or consent, for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desire.
-- On June 27, about 7:15 a.m., at 28 Harrison Street, also in New Rochelle, he "intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose grabbed a third victim’s buttocks, without permission or consent, for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desire."
-- On June 29 at 5:35 p.m. at 24 Station Plaza, in New Rochelle, "the defendant intentionally and for no legitimate purpose grabbed a fourth victim’s buttocks, without permission or consent, for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desire."
Merino's original charges stem from committing the misdemeanor offense of "forcible touching."
However, if during the last 10 years, a defendant has been convicted two or more times of forcible touching, in separate criminal incidents and had been sentenced for these crimes, subsequent charges are elevated to felonies, DiFiore said.
In this case, Merino was previously convicted of forcible touching on Jan. 17 of this year, June 15, 2007, and on March 15, 2007, according to the D.A.'s office.
Further investigation revealed Merino was a Level 2 sex offender and had failed to comply with his registration obligations after moving to New Rochelle earlier this year from New York City.
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lopez, deputy chief of the county Sex Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case.
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