DA Vance: Three Men Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Terms For Coordinated, Targeted Sexual Assaults


October 17, 2018

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of FERNANDO SANDEL, 30, ISAIAS RIVERA, 35, and JOEY CRUZ, 29, to 75 years-to-life, 50 years-to-life, and 75 years-to-life in state prison, respectively, for conspiring to rape and rob three women they targeted through online prostitution advertisements. On June 8, 2018, the defendants were convicted by a New York State Supreme Court jury of all of the charges against them, including Predatory Sexual Assault, Rape, Burglary, and Robbery, among other charges, as well as conspiring together to commit those crimes.

“The defendants targeted women who they thought would not report these vicious crimes to law enforcement, and throughout these proceedings and trial testimony, they claimed these survivors could not be believed,” said District Attorney Vance. “We believed them, and continued to fight for them long after the verdict, helping ensure that they secured what they need to recover from this trauma – including housing, immigration assistance, and trauma-informed counseling. We are doing everything in our power to help these brave, resilient women land on their feet. We urge anyone who has been a victim of a sex crime to call our Sex Crimes hotline at 212-335-9373. We are here to help you and we will help you, regardless of your immigration status or what language you speak.”

Dorchen A. Leidholdt, Director of Sanctuary for Families, said: “Sanctuary for Families, New York’s largest provider of dedicated holistic services to survivors of gender-based violence, applauds Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and the chief of his office’s Human Trafficking Unit, Carolina Holderness, for their success in this prosecution of three sexual predators who severely abused women targeted through on-line advertisements. The sensitive, trauma-informed approach employed by Ms. Holderness and her colleagues was key to this success, which protects other vulnerable women from such horrific terror and abuse.”

Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women in New York City, said: “These convictions send a strong message that sexual assault and violence against the most vulnerable women will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We applaud the District Attorney for going after predators who target women precisely because these women may appear less credible and are grateful to the detectives and prosecutors who worked to get justice for these victims.”

Defendant Information:

FERNANDO SANDEL, D.O.B. 9/22/1988
Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Predatory Sexual Assault, a class A felony, 13 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Rape in the First Degree, a class B felony, 6 counts
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, a class B felony, 2 counts
  • Burglary in the First Degree as a Sexually Motivated Felony, a class B felony, 5 counts
  • Robbery in the First Degree, a class B felony, 4 counts
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 6 counts
  • Strangulation in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
  • Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 75 years-to-life in state prison

ISAIAS RIVERA, D.O.B. 10/14/1983
Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Predatory Sexual Assault, a class A felony, 7 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Rape in the First Degree, a class B felony, 4 counts
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Burglary in the First Degree as a Sexually Motivated Felony, a class B felony, 5 counts
  • Robbery in the First Degree, a class B felony, 3 counts
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 4 counts
  • Strangulation in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 50 years-to-life in state prison

JOEY CRUZ, D.O.B. 3/27/1989
Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Predatory Sexual Assault, a class A felony, 13 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Rape in the First Degree, a class B felony, 6 counts
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, a class B felony, 2 counts
  • Burglary in the First Degree as a Sexually Motivated Felony, a class B felony, 5 counts
  • Robbery in the First Degree, a class B felony, 4 counts
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 6 counts
  • Strangulation in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
  • Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 75 years-to-life in state prison