The Suffolk man nabbed by police for allegedly impersonating a police officer and abducting two teenage girls tried offering an explanation for his arrest Friday.
Donald Cristiano Jr., 46, of Bay Shore, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and luring charges Friday.
He allegedly lured the girls into his car, claiming he was a police officer. Police say Cristiano claimed there was a gang investigation in the area and that it wasn’t safe to be walking around.
Police say Cristiano offered the teens a ride to the library, and once they arrived, he told the 16-year-old to get out so he could talk to the other girl, a 14-year-old.
Police say that’s when Cristiano drove off with the 14-year-old to a nearby park, grabbed the girl’s pants and waist and then made inappropriate comments. Police say the girl grabbed the door handle, kicked the door open while fighting him off and ran to a nearby home, where the homeowner called 911.
On his way to his arraignment, Cristiano said to news crews, “It’s the result of drugs and alcohol.” When asked if he wanted to apologize, Cristiano said, “I don’t remember a whole lot.”
News 12 spoke to Cristiano’s attorney, who says he still hasn’t been able to have a conversation with his client.
“The big problem for me and many practitioners is that my client might be on a phone call with detectives standing nearby or they may be in a virtual room where there are other individuals interfering with attorney client privilege,” says attorney John Powers.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart says the girls provided detectives with a description of the vehicle, and they were able to narrow down the search to 400 matching in the county.
Cristiano matched the description of the perpetrator. He was located in Bay Shore and arrested without incident Thursday.
Powers says his client suffers from post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorders. Cristiano is being held on $1 million cash bail.