'A predator amongst them.' Active member of Central Islip church accused of sexually abusing 8-year-old girl
An active member of a local church is facing charges of sexually abusing a minor as far back as 2018.
Jose Marquez Acosta had nothing to say as he walked out of Suffolk County's First District Court on Wednesday. Acosta is accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl at Ministerio Internacional Tabernaculo de Avivamiento, a Central Islip church.
Edmond Chakmakian, an attorney representing the victim's family, said Acosta had been providing "babysitting services" through the church.
"The parents are crestfallen," Chakmakian said. "They were very involved with this church. They trusted it. They were involved with it. They are anguished. They are very, very upset for their daughter who's struggling like any young child would."
According to court documents, the abuse allegedly began in September 2018. Acosta was arrested four years later in February 2022. He's charged with 2nd degree Course of Sexual Conduct against a Child, a felony count.
His court appearance on Wednesday was a regularly scheduled hearing, but Chakmakian showed up because of a potential plea deal. However, the case was adjourned until April 19.
The Suffolk County district attorney's office would only say conditions of a potential plea deal are still being worked out and that no decisions have been made. They added that they always want to protect the victim from having to testify in court.
Chakmakian said the family is just looking for justice after their daughter found the courage to come forward.
"This is an 8-year-old girl we're talking about and we think the community should be aware that there's a predator amongst them," Chakmakian said. "They really feel like the church community let them down by letting a wolf among the sheep."