Man who assaulted 10-year-old girl takes plea deal

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ST. CROIX - The trial for a 45-year old man arrested just more than a year ago on multiple sexual assault and child abuse charges was scheduled to begin Monday, but he opted to accept a last-minute plea offer made by prosecutors on Friday.

Santiago Oyola was arrested in December 2011 after he was accused of having sexual encounters with a 10-year-old girl on more than eight occasions between Oct. 29, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2010.

He was charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated rape, nine counts of child abuse and a single count of attempted first-degree aggravated rape.

The jury selection and trial was scheduled to take place before Presiding V.I. Superior Court Judge Darryl Donohue next week, but on Friday, Oyola avoided running the risk of spending the rest of his life in prison and pleaded guilty to a single count of attempted first-degree aggravated rape, which carries a penalty of seven-and-a-half years to 25 years in prison.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining 14 criminal counts against him.

According to court records, Oyola had access to the girl because he was a known friend of the family. After the 10-year-old's mother saw Oyola "hovering" over the girl and pulling on her bra at a social gathering in 2010, the girl had not seen him, she told police.

The girl did not tell anyone what Oyola had done until attending a "Good Touch, Bad Touch" presentation at her school, according to a probable cause fact sheet written by V.I. Police Detective Sgt. Naomi Joseph.

After the presentation, the girl told a friend what Oyola had done to her, according to Joseph. The friend told a teacher, and police were notified Nov. 28, 2011.

The girl told police that Oyola had molested her eight times since she was 8 years old. Seven times he had forced her to have sex with him, according to Joseph. Oyola took her into a bathroom at a relative's home where he had sex with her, according to the affidavit.

The girl told police that Oyola also had molested another girl, who was 4 at the time, but that charge was not included in the superseding information filed in the case.

Under questioning, Oyola told police he had rubbed the girl's buttocks, but he denied having sex with her, Joseph said.

A medical examination of both of Oyola's accusers determined that both girls had been molested, Joseph said.

Bail initially was set at $75,000, but Magistrate Judge Miguel Camacho increased that amount to $150,000 at Oyola's advice-of-rights hearing. Oyola was unable to post bail, and he has remained jailed at Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility since then.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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