Eliseo Arce, 58, had originally pleaded guilty to the charge in 2011 but later withdrew his guilty plea over the objections of prosecutors. He also demanded that the original judge assigned to the case, James Miraldi, turn the case over to another judge because of information Miraldi learned about similar allegations that had been leveled against Arce.
Police reported that Arce grabbed the girl from behind in July 2010 after her mother went back into their Lexington Avenue apartment to retrieve her cell phone. He put his hand over the girl’s mouth and carried her into his apartment’s back bedroom where he tried to pull her shorts down and lift her shirt.
When the girl waved her hands, Arce stopped, according to police. He let her leave the apartment after a friend knocked on the bedroom window, and the girl ran to her mother, who was searching for her.