NEWARK, NJ - Gery Destra of Maplewood has been convicted by an Essex County Jury of sexually assualting a seven-year-old girl, according to a release from Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino.

“It took a great deal of bravery and courage for the child to come to court, much less talk about something so traumatizing before the jury,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Lyons-Boswick, who tried the case. 

The trial was before the Honorable Verna Leath, Judge of the Superior Court, The jury convicted Destra of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, for incidents that occurred when the child was between six and seven years old, stated Laurino.

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Sentencing is scheduled for January 25, 2018. Destra faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years to life in New Jersey State Prison. Under the Jessica Lunsford Act, defendants convicted of raping children younger than 13 are required to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison without parole.

"Acting Prosecutor Laurino would like to thank members of the Maplewood Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Special Victims Unit for their hard work in the investigation and prosecution of this case," stated the release.

Destra is currently being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.