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Immigrant Charged with Sex Crimes

August 6, 2013 | Posted In Criminal Law, Immigration

A 45-year-old illegal immigrant is facing sex crimes charges for sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl, immigration lawyers in New Jersey report. Jose Chamba, who has lived in Kearny for several years, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and will stand trial for assault. He indicated in his preliminary statement that he is in the United States illegally, and is originally from Loja, Ecuador.

Chamba has been charged with aggravated sexual assault, and if convicted, could serve up to 25 years in prison. He is in the country illegally, and primarily speaks Spanish. His testimony was given through an interpreter, who Chamba now claims has misrepresented him in court. The illegal immigrant had initially faced charges for a second-degree offense, which could have landed him up to 10 years in a federal prison. Now, Chamba is facing a greater charge, and if found guilty at trial, his sentence could double to 25.

Chamba pleaded guilty to performing sexual acts on the five-year-old victim while she was in his apartment in August of 2012. He claimed that he was drunk when the assault occurred. According to the prosecution, the girl’s baby sitter walked in while Chamba was in the middle of molesting the young child. A follow-up doctor’s report indicated that the girl had suffered vaginal injuries consistent with sexual abuse.

Now, Chamba and his immigration defense attorneys have issued statements arguing that the man was misled when entering his plea bargain. He originally indicated that he understood the consequences for pleading guilty to the assault, but now wants to stand trial and plead not guilty. The prosecution has stated that sexual assault crimes do not allow for an intoxication defense.

In New Jersey, the sexual assault of a minor is a second-degree crime, if the victim is less than 13 years old, and the attacker is at least four years older than the victim. Aggravated sexual assault is classified as a first-degree crime, with penalties of 10 to 20 years in a federal prison. In conjunction with a lengthy prison sentence, anyone charged with aggravated sexual assault must also register as a sexual offender for life, and must comply with the state’s sex offender monitoring and reporting requirements. The Sexually Violent Predator Act requires that anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault can be subjected to involuntary civil commitment once they are released from prison, if a court finds that the perpetrator suffers from a mental abnormality that makes it likely that the criminal will engage in sexually violent acts.

Chamba, as an illegal immigrant, faces possible deportation to Ecuador after serving a jail sentence, immigration attorneys in New Jersey say. Depending on the outcome of his trial, Chamba may be required to stay in the United States to serve out his sentence before he is returned to his country of origin, which could have a negative impact on any future attempts to become a U.S. citizen.

The experienced immigration attorneys at New Jersey law firm Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, represent anyone who has immigrated to the United States, and is currently facing sexual assault or other criminal charges, and is in danger of deportation. 

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