Former Athol man pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges in Superior Court

  • Defendant Jose Oquendo, 49, formerly of Athol, right, stands next to defense attorney Emily Shallcross, of the Committee for Public Counsel Service, during his arraignment in Franklin County Superior Court in Greenfield on Wednesday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2021 1:46:45 PM
Modified: 10/28/2021 1:46:54 PM

GREENFIELD — A Springfield man formerly of Athol was arraigned in Franklin County Superior Court on Wednesday on more than two dozen charges related to the alleged sexual assault of two children.

Jose Oquendo, 49, pleaded not guilty to seven counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 years or older, four counts of aggravated rape and abuse of a child under the age of 16 where there is more than a 10-year age difference, three counts of incest, one count of posing or exhibiting a child in the state of nudity, one count of aggravated rape and abuse of a child under the age of 12 where there is more than a five-year age difference, and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. The case was transferred from Greenfield District Court due to its severity.

The charges are related to incidents in Phillipston and Athol between 2013 and 2020, according to a previous press release from the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.

Bail was set at $100,000 cash or $1 million surety.

Several conditions of release would apply if Oquendo were to make bail. These conditions include wearing a GPS tracking device with established exclusion zones; providing the probation department with his address and phone numbers and alerting the department to any changes to these; and having no unsupervised direct or indirect contact with any child under 18. This provision does not prohibit unintentional contact with minors not initiated by Oquendo.

He also would not be allowed to be employed or participate in any volunteer activity where he would have contact with any child under 18, though this does not prohibit the defendant from “engaging in employment, volunteer work or recreational activity where children may be incidentally present but are not the primary focus of the venue/forum,” according to Assistant District Attorney Anne Yereniuk, who is prosecuting the case.

Oquendo is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on Jan. 26. Defense attorney Emily Shallcross of the Committee for Public Counsel Services had no comment for the Greenfield Recorder.

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