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Feb 13, 2018 12:33 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Teenager Indicted On Rape Charges

Bryan Siranaula arriving at East Hampton Town Justice Court on February 5. JON WINKLER
Feb 13, 2018 4:46 PM

An 18-year-old East Hampton resident accused of raping a teenage acquaintance in front of a child in the Springs School parking lot on February 4 will appear in Suffolk County Criminal Court this week.

Bryan Siranaula, a senior at East Hampton High School, was indicted last week by a grand jury on multiple charges and is scheduled to appear before Justice Barbara Kahn in criminal court on Wednesday, February 14.

East Hampton Town Police arrested him at home early in the morning of February 5, and the Suffolk County district attorney’s office charged him with felony counts of rape and sexual abuse in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. He was arraigned that day in East Hampton Town Justice Court and later transported to the Suffolk County Jail, where he remained this week, after failing to post $205,000 bail.

The D.A.’s office took the case to a grand jury, which subsequently added felony charges of rape in the first degree and aggravated sexual abuse, along with misdemeanor counts of assault with the intent to cause physical injury, criminal obstruction of breathing, and criminal impersonation in the second degree.

Daniel Rodgers, a Southampton attorney who will be representing Mr. Siranaula, said on Monday that his client was "very frightened" to be imprisoned, will plead not guilty to all the charges, and that the victim’s story is false.

“These two people knew each other for years, so there’s a lot that goes into this,” Mr. Rodgers said. “There’s another side to this. You don’t just have an 18-year-old kid who’s a perfect high school kid just pop out of nowhere with a first-degree rape charge.”

According to accusatory documents filed with the court by prosecutors at the time of the arrest, Mr. Siranaula admitted to police that he had raped the young woman and had treated her aggressively and forcibly in front of the child, who was related to the victim.

The 19-year-old female victim said in a statement to police that she and Mr. Siranaula had dated, on and off, from the summer of 2016 until January 2018, when they broke up and she blocked his number from her cellphone.

On February 4, before going to the Springs School to play soccer with a young relative at about 3:40 p.m., she received text messages from an unfamiliar number, ostensibly from a friend, who asked if they could meet at the school, and she agreed.

The woman told police she returned to her car after playing soccer and was texting friends at about 4:30 p.m. when she saw Mr. Siranaula’s car pull into a space next to her own. At one point, with the child in the passenger seat, he pulled the young woman out of the car, picked her up by the waist and carried her to the rear passenger side of his car, according to her statement, which goes on to say that she tried to escape and told him to let her go, but he threw her in the back seat and hit her in the face and head, then held her down and raped her.

The statement says that the young relative witnessed the incident and was crying; Mr. Siranaula allowed her to go calm the child in her car but would not let her leave and persuaded her, out of fear, to return to his car. At that point, he hit her in the face and raped her again before she hit him with a shoe and he apologized.

He also admitted that he was the one texting her from the anonymous phone number, she said.

Mr. Siranaula did not follow the woman when she drove home in her own car, she told police, and she told her mother about the incident when she got home. Her mother called East Hampton Town Police.

The statement said that as she was driving to the police station, she received a text message from the same anonymous number, acknowledging that he was using the number while “pretending” to be another friend and adding, “ok, and bye I’m leaving you alone.” The texts under false pretenses led to the misdemeanor count of criminal impersonation.

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