Accused rapist taking case to trial

Nov. 27—SUNBURY — A man accused of raping a 9-year-old girl wants to take the case to trial in Northumberland County Court.

On Monday, Jose Figueroa-Cante, 36, of Northumberland, was scheduled to plead no contest to indecent assault but changed his mind when the hearing started in front of Judge Hugh Jones. Figueroa-Cante told the judge it is his intention to drop Public Defender Ed Greco and seek new representation.

Figueroa-Cante appeared via videoconference, answering questions through interpreter Jessica Medina. A trial date is not yet scheduled.

Following a call to ChildLine after a domestic dispute in 2020 the child told investigators Figueroa-Cante entered her mother's bedroom over the past two years and told the girl the two were going to play, police said. Figueroa-Cante allegedly shook the victim like a doll and when he was done he told her to not tell her mother or he would hurt her mother.

Figueroa-Cante is charged with five felonies: one count of rape of a child, one count of statutory sexual assault, one count of sexual assault and two counts of aggravated assault; and two misdemeanors of indecent assault. He remains a county inmate in lieu of $250,000 cash bail.

— JUSTIN STRAWSER

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