Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray today announced that Pierre Deneus, 50, of Irvington has been convicted by an Essex County jury of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl. The jury also convicted him of endangering the welfare of a minor, promoting prostitution, conspiracy to commit murder, witness tampering and hindering prosecution.
He was found not guilty of attempted sexual assault and not guilty of aggravated sexual contact.
Assistant Prosecutor Margarita R. Rivera, who tried the case, said on May 30, 2008 at approximately 8:30 a.m. Deneus stood outside of his car and grabbed the victim from behind as she walked to Myrtle Avenue School in Irvington. He pushed the girl into the passenger side of his car. When she got into the car, the door handle was broken making it impossible for the girl to extricate herself from the vehicle.
Deneus took the girl to his home on Munn Avenue in Irvington. The state argued he attempted to sexually assault her at his home. He ripped her leggings and offered her $50 in exchange for sex. When she resisted, Deneus performed a sex act on himself in front of the girl until a woman entered the house. The interruption allowed the victim to escape, Rivera stated.
The victim ran and told her mother and grandmother. Police were called. On June 3, 2009 Deneus was arrested. In 2009, while in custody and awaiting trial, Deneus approached another defendant and offered him $5,000 to kill the victim, her mother and his roommate.
An Essex County Grand Jury returned a 13-count indictment charging him with multiple counts, including attempted sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, promoting prostitution, endangering the welfare of a minor, witness tampering and hindering prosecution.
Deneus was convicted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Sentencing is scheduled for May 6 before the Honorable Sherry Hutchins-Henderson, J.S.C. The maximum sentence he faces, if sentenced consecutively on all charges, would be 70 years in state prison.
“This is a very sad case of a young, vulnerable girl being attacked on her way to school. Parents should be able to send their children to school without fear that they will be assaulted, ’’said Assistant Prosecutor Rivera. “This man posed a clear threat to the community and I am thankful the jury recognized the threat and convicted him of the charges.’’