East Barre man pleads guilty, faces possibility of deportation
BARRE — An East Barre man has admitted to repeatedly raping a female relative and could be deported because of it.
Reco A. Jones, 52, pleaded guilty Friday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to sexually assaulting a child under 16.
He agreed to a sentence of 12 years to life in prison, but Judge Thomas Zonay ordered a presentence investigation be completed by the Department of Corrections before formal sentencing.
By pleading guilty, Jones admitted to repeatedly sexually assaulting a female relative over a period of seven years.
He had originally been charged with aggravated repeated sexual assault against a child, which carries a minimum sentence of 25 years, but that charge was amended as part of the plea agreement.
Jones may never serve his sentence as he is a native of Barbados and not a U.S. citizen. Court paperwork submitted by Thomas McCarthy of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services says that any person applying to become a citizen of the U.S. who is convicted of sexual abuse on a minor is considered an aggravated felon and subject to deportation.
An official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency is aware of the Jones case and would review it. Since Jones is the holder of a so-called “green card,” which grants an immigrant permanent resident status in the U.S. provided the holder doesn’t commit any actions that would make him or her removable under immigration law, a federal immigration judge from the Department of Justice would have to strip Jones of his right to be in the country before he could be deported.
Jones also pleaded guilty to two counts of violating his conditions of release. Jones admitted he was communicating with the victim’s mother by sending letters asking to get the girl out of the country if a trial were to take place to keep her from testifying. Jones was barred from having contact with the victim or her mother.
In the letters, portions of which were read in court in November, Jones mentions the girl’s “refusal to testify” and tells the girl’s mother that his attorney, Maggie Vincent, has advised him not to take the case to trial, but “(Vincent) doesn’t know that there is an agreement or understanding.”
According to Deputy State’s Attorney Megan Campbell in November, her office had received 46 letters written to the victim’s mother and CDs of more than 250 phone calls between Jones and the mother.
As part of Jones’ plea agreement, four charges of violating conditions of release were dropped.
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