SOUTHINGTON – A local man has pleaded no contest to kissing and fondling a teenage girl.
Michael Giuffrida, 46, accepted a plea bargain Friday in Bristol Superior Court. The deal included probation and no prison time.
Giuffrida pleaded no contest to one count of risk of injury to a minor - a felony. In exchange, one count of fourth-degree sexual assault was dropped. The no contest plea was done in the event civil action is taken against Giuffrida, his lawyer said.
According to court documents, Giuffrida was arrested Feb. 1 for kissing a 13-year-old and fondling her.
State prosecutor Paul Rotiroti said Giuffrida took advantage of a teen girl who had recently lost her father. He used that situation to “cultivate” their relationship, the state prosecutor said.
Cheryl Moran, an attorney appointed to communicate with the victim throughout the case, said the girl felt Giuffrida manipulated her into thinking their inappropriate relationship was OK. He often invited her to sleep over his home and “flipped out” at one point when she said she had a boyfriend, Moran continued.
In her diary, the victim described an incident that occurred in June 2016 in which she slept over Giuffrida’s house and they “snuggled” together. At some point, the girl said, she was brought upstairs and Giuffrida was “kind of on top of me,” when he started to kiss her, according to court documents.
Police were able to search the teen’s phone during the investigation and turned up an entry written in a notes app that described a time when the victim was with Giuffrida one night when they kissed and fell asleep together. After waking up, they again kissed and “made out for a while,” court papers said.
In court on Friday, Moran said the victim was diagnosed with anxiety after her relationship with Giuffrida. She was also identified by a number of her friends as the victim after Giuffrida’s arrest was made public in several news outlets, Moran continued.
According to Moran and Rotiroti, the victim was OK with the plea bargain, as she wants Giuffrida to get help so he never does what he did to her to someone else.
Giuffrida, of 125 Cascade Ridge, was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended, and three years of probation. During probation, he has been ordered to undergo a sex offender evaluation and treatment.
Giuffrida is not required to register as a sex offender. He has been issued a lifetime protective order that bars him from contacting the victim, going to her home, or coming within 100 yards of her.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.