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MAN WHO AIDED FRIEND ENRAGED WHEN DAUGHTER TELLS OF ASSAULT

A Depew man's attempt to help a childhood acquaintance turned into a parent's nightmare, with the acquaintance accused of sexually molesting the man's young daughter, village police said Saturday.

Victor D. Cordero, 25, whose last known address was in Lancaster, not only was arrested, police said -- he spent the night in Erie County Medical Center after being severly beaten by the girl's father.

Cordero was arraigned Saturday morning in the medical center on charges of burglary, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. He subsequently was transferred to the Erie County Holding Center, where he was held in lieu of $25,000 cash or $50,000 property bail.

Lt. Frank Szczublewski and Officers Jeff Gorski and Richard Ballistrea handled the case. The lieutenant described what happened at about midnight Friday at the Main Street apartment house:

The girl's father had come across Cordero, whom he recognized from his childhood. "He saw him on the street, drunk, and tried to help him," the lieutenant said. The father took Cordero to his family's apartment, then later escorted him back downstairs and told him to leave, before leaving himself to briefly visit a neighbor.

But instead of leaving, Cordero went back upstairs, where four children were asleep. The eldest was a 10-year-old girl, whom he's accused of molesting.

"The downstairs neighbor heard the girl scream," the lieutenant continued. When the neighbor phoned upstairs, "The girl said, 'There's a strange man up here touching me.' "

The neighbor told the girl and her three younger siblings to come downstairs.

Meanwhile, Cordero was outside when the father returned. Only about 10 minutes had passed, the lieutenant said.

After the girl and the neighbor related what happened, the father went after Cordero.

"He's got some severe bruising . . . to his face. Both his eyes are swollen shut," the lieutenant said.

Neither the girl nor her father was injured. Police will talk with the Erie County district attorney's office about whether charges should be filed against the father in connection with the assault, Szczublewski said.

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