Maplewood man convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl

Gery Destra

NEWARK, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced Oct. 27 that an Essex County jury has convicted Gery Destra, 21, of Maplewood, of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl.   

“It took a great deal of bravery and courage for the child to come to court, much less talk about something so traumatizing before the jury,” Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Lyons-Boswick, who tried the case, said in a press release.

Following a trial before Superior Court Judge Verna Leath, the jury convicted Destra of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, for incidents that occurred when the child was between 6- and 7-years-old.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 25. Destra faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years to life in New Jersey State Prison. Under the Jessica Lunsford Act, defendants convicted of raping children younger than 13 are required to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison without parole.

Acting Prosecutor Laurino thanked members of the Maplewood Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit for their hard work in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

Destra is currently being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.