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Victim testifies in SLC sexual contact case

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CANTON— A teenager who accused a Rooseveltown man of having repeated sexual contact with her beginning when she was 7 years old testified Tuesday morning in St. Lawrence County Court.

The retrial of 40-year-old Aristide Rojas, who maintained a blank face while sitting next to Ogdensburg attorney Mary E. Rain throughout the testimony, continued before Judge Jerome J. Richards and a jury.

Mr. Rojas faces up to 25 years in state prison and would be required to register as a sex offender if convicted of felony first-degree course of sexual conduct and misdemeanor child endangerment charges. He originally was arrested in March 2010 and accused of having sexual contact with the girl from fall 2004 to summer 2006 in Ogdensburg and the town of Massena.

The alleged victim told the jury that Mr. Rojas moved in with them when she was 7 years old. Soon after, she said, he began to have sexual contact with her while her mother worked nights. The abuse went on for several years, she testified.

The defense and prosecution squabbled over the time frame provided by the teenager, with the former arguing it was too vague.

“All we know is that sometime it happened at some point,” Ms. Rain said. “We don’t even have a start date and an end date.”

Chief Assistant District Attorney Amanda N. Nissen maintained that the alleged victim’s testimony was sufficient to establish that crimes were committed.

“She can give us the time frame that it started. That testimony, along with her mother’s testimony, (reveals) the chain of events,” Ms. Nissen said. “I’m not required to prove a date.”

The case originally came to trial in April 2011, but Judge Richards halted the proceeding and declared a mistrial after new information surfaced during testimony.

During last year’s trial, the teenager testified that Mr. Rojas had sexual contact with her in a way not previously disclosed to the prosecution. Judge Richards ruled that the testimony couldn’t be undone, but allowed it to be used in the retrial.

The prosecution and defense both rested Tuesday.

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