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20 years to life in sexual assault

Cirito Cordero, a member of a national Hispanic street gang since he was 11, was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years to life for the life-threatening sexual impaling of his former girlfriend's 6-year-old son last December.

Cordero impaled the young boy with a fork last Dec. 7 while on probation for an earlier burglary.

"You're not capable of living in a civilized society," Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case told him, citing Cordero's "utter lack of remorse" and the 21-year-old man's 10-year association with the Latin Kings gang.

Jailed since he surrendered to police two days after the Concord Place incident, Cordero did not speak at the sentencing.

During the two-week trial, Cordero took the stand and insisted the boy he was preparing for school impaled himself by sticking a fork up his own rectum for unknown reasons and then got on a school bus.

The boy was rushed to Women & Children's Hospital from his school that morning for emergency bowel surgery.

The jury took 45 minutes to find Cordero guilty as charged of a single count of predatory sexual assault against a child. The crime carries a maximum-allowable prison term of 25 years to life.

With the fathers of both the young boy and Cordero in the courtroom, defense attorney Barry S. Dolgoff insisted he believes Cordero "didn't do it." Instead, he accused an unidentified hospital surgeon of harming the boy through improper bowel surgery and also accused co-prosecutor Christopher J. Belling of "misleading" the jury on the law and tugging at their heartstrings because of the boy's age.

After Rosanne Eimer Johnson, the other prosecutor, complained about Dolgoff's comments, the judge ordered Dolgoff to stick "to the facts of the case."

Johnson denounced Cordero for what she called his "sick, twisted" way of punishing the 6-year-old because he wanted him to stop sleeping with stuffed animals. She told the judge that without the emergency surgery the morning of the incident, the boy "would have died" and urged him to impose the maximum-allowable term.

The judge also imposed a 100-year order of protection, which the State Legislature allows under the statute covering predatory sexual crimes against a child.

Dolgoff said the conviction will be appealed.


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