ONLY ON CVP: Two Lyndhurst brothers will be tried together on charges of sexually abusing a young girl over several years after a plea deal with prosecutors collapsed yesterday.
Gustavo Cedeno-Blondet, 53, and his brother Mauro Cedeno-Blondet, 51, said they wanted to plead guilty and be sentenced this morning.
However, both insisted that they touched touched the girl’s leg accidentally and not in a deliberate, sexually-motivated way.
Two judges, in turn, told them that wouldn’t fly.
A grand jury in Hackensack indicted the brothers in August 2012 on five second-degree counts of sexual assault each, as well as impairing or debauching the morals of a child, following their arrests three months earlier.
Prosecutors said that they each touched the girl’s breasts, buttocks, and vagina, while inducing her to touch their penises, several times for at least seven years. The girl, who was 16 when she went to police in the spring of 2012, said the abuse began when she was 5 and lasted more than seven years.
Before what was supposed to be their plea hearing yesterday, Superior Court Judge James J. Guida (above) read through a report in which each brother swore that he touched the girl “by accident … in passing … to wake her.”
Through Spanish interpreters, defense attorneys Tana McPherson and Diane D’Alessandro instructed them that they had to admit to deliberate acts before Guida would accept their pleas.
The brothers insisted that they didn’t want to go to trial — but wouldn’t admitting to anything other than an accident.
Eventualy, the judge put up his hands.
“How I can I accept this plea?” he asked.
With no recourse, Guida sent them to Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi for a trial date.
“In an interview with police when you were arrested, you said everything the girl said was true,” DeAvila-Silebi later told Gustavo Cedeno-Blondet, while reading through a report prepared by a specialist at the state Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center for sex offenders in Avenel.
“Here you admitted to the psychologist the victim touched your penis several times between the ages of 10 and 12,” she said.
“But then you told the psychologist ‘I did say that, but I just figured they’d stop asking me questions if I said it. They said they would reduce the term from 10 – 12 years. That’s a lot of years.’
“This is not a claim of innocence, it’s a claim of the years,” the judge told both of them. “So do you want to be sentenced today?”
Both said they did, so she continued questioning them.
“There were times you told the psychologist you denied any wrongdoing, and in another part of the report you admitted to the victim touching your penis,” DeAvila-Silebi said.
“Do you renounce the statements you never did anything?” she asked. “Is the truth there was sexual touching between you and the minor child?”
“Yes, accidentally,” Gustavo Cedeno-Blondet replied.
“We don’t accept accident,” the judge said. “There are only knowing acts. There is no such thing as an accidental crime.
“I have to give you a trial.”
“Please, please, we want our sentence ” begged Mauro Cedeno-Blondet, who is blind.
“Our parents are 85 and are going to die soon. I can’t stand being blind in jail,” he said. “Please do it for me and do it for the world, your honor.”
DeAvila-Silebi set a trial date for March 25, 2014. She also reminded the brothers that deportation proceedings will begin once their case is resolved.
Both have remained held on $150,000 cash bail in the Bergen County Jail since their arrests on May 18, 2012.
STORY / COURTROOM PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter