A 37-year-old Queens man is wanted by police after he failed to show up for the verdict of his own trial in which he was found guilty of sexually abusing and endangering the welfare of a child by groping an 11-year-old girl as she walked to school last June.
Jose Para, of Middle Village, was convicted Friday after a weeklong jury trial --but never showed up to court when the verdict was read, according to the Queens district attorney's office.
"A child walking to school in broad daylight should never have to worry about a stranger approaching and touching her inappropriately," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. "The defendant, who was out on bail fled the Courthouse during jury deliberations. He faces a considerable amount of time in prison."
A bench warrant has been issued for his arrest. Anyone with information on Para's whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.
Prosecutors said Para approached the girl on Albion Avenue just before 8 a.m. on June 23, 2016, and began talking with her as she walked to school, asking her name and age, where she lived and what school she attended.
When she responded to his questions, Para commented on her shirt and groped her, prosecutors said. The girl ran away, and as soon as she got to school, told adults about the stranger.