By JANET FRANKSTON LORIN
Associated Press Writer
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) -- A father who raped his teenage daughter over several years and ordered her to throw two newborns he had fathered with her down an air shaft was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The 45-year-old West New York man pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. The Associated Press is not identifying him to protect the identity of his daughter, the victim of a sex crime.
One of the babies survived and is in foster care. The other one died after being thrown down the shaft.
"These are heinous, cruel and depraved acts committed against your own flesh and blood," said Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Callahan, who imposed the maximum sentence Wednesday.
According to prosecutors, the father threatened to kill the daughter and her mother if she did not throw the babies down the shaft. The daughter admitted throwing the babies down the shaft under her father's orders.
In a statement, crafted with the help of a cellmate, the man acknowledged his "atrocious crimes."
"I am totally repentant for my past actions and I do deserve to pay for this," the man wrote in the statement read in court by his attorney. But he also maintained that he did not throw the babies out the window.
DNA tests showed the man fathered both children -- a girl, who died just after birth, and a boy, who survived -- with his daughter, who is now 19.
The man told a psychologist that he didn't view the teenager as his daughter, but "as a person I'm in love with," adding, "I would not have sex with her if she had not seduced me."
Authorities said the man, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, did not meet the girl until after she moved to the United States in 2000 as a 13-year-old. Their sexual relationship began around that time, prosecutor Mike D'Andrea said.
The daughter has pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter and aggravated assault, and faces a maximum of seven years in prison, D'Andrea said. Her sentencing is May 10.
Her father could be deported after completing his sentence, authorities said.
At the sentencing, the man's attorney said psychological reports indicated the father has extremely low intellectual aptitude. Authorities have described the daughter as borderline mentally retarded.
E. Carl Broege, a public defender, described a statement she made to authorities that she was attracted to him, "and I began to provoke him until he finally gave in." Her statements about their relationship later became accusatory, Broege said.
The relationship was discovered after neighbors heard a baby crying and called police in September 2005. The officers found a newborn boy at the bottom of an air shaft in their three-story apartment building.
The boy had a fractured skull but survived after landing on a pile of trash and old cigarette packages, D'Andrea said. He is now in foster care.
Further investigation turned up a mummified baby girl born in 2003, D'Andrea said.
The man lived in a small apartment with his brother, wife and two adolescent children and worked as a cook at a restaurant in Hackensack.
According to statements given to police, neither the brother nor the wife knew of the relationship or knew the girl had been pregnant.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.