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A rape suspect accidentally released from custody says he will surrender, but only after Christmas passes.

Adam C. Pritchard plans to come out of hiding and turn himself in to authorities Friday, according to his attorney.

"He wants to be out for Christmas, I guess," said Pritchard's lawyer, Anthony D. Abbarno, who related Pritchard's decision Tuesday via telephone to Erie County Judge John V. Rogowski.

Pritchard, 31, of Blasdell, was arrested Sunday in Amherst on rape and sodomy charges. Although he is awaiting sentencing Feb. 2 for unlawful imprisonment of a 16-year-old Orchard Park girl last June 20, he was released from custody Monday evening because of a paperwork snafu.

Pritchard spent eight months in jail two years ago in a Blasdell sex-abuse case.

After Rogowski confirmed that law enforcement had a massive search under way for Pritchard Tuesday afternoon and had already questioned his family, James DeMatteo, the prosecutor in Pritchard's County Court case, said authorities "will get him."

Amherst Town Justice Sam Maislin set $25,000 bail Sunday on the new rape charge and Tuesday ordered Amherst police to keep a watch on the 36-year-old victim after being advised that Pritchard was free, court sources said.

The Harlem Road woman told Amherst police that Pritchard followed her home after they became friendly in several Amherst bars early Sunday morning and sexually assaulted her.

On Dec. 16, an Erie County Court jury acquitted Pritchard of trying to kidnap an Orchard Park girl on her bicycle last June for sexual purposes, but convicted him of unlawful imprisonment and harassment, both misdemeanors. He faces a one-year jail term.

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