JOHN ESPOSITO DEAD: KATIE BEERS’ KIDNAPPER FOUND ‘NOT BREATHING’ IN PRISON CELL
Huffingtonpost/Frank Eltman and Ula Ilnytzky
Sal Inghilleri, 55, was convicted in 1994 for sexually abusing 9 year old Katie Beers in1992, before family friend John Esposito kidnapped her and kept her in an underground concretechamber for 16 days. His attorney said that there was no reason to fear the convicted childmolester because he so dislikes prison that he would do anything to avoid being near kids. The last thing he wants to do is go back to jail, said defense attorney Mary Elizabeth Abbate ofDeer Park. I think if he saw a child walking on the street, he'd turn and run the otherway. Before Inghilleri was released from prison, Suffolk County Court Judge Ralph Gazzillohad to assign a risk level to Inghilleri under Megan's Law. The hearing to classify his risklevel as a repeat molester was delayed for two weeks. Laura Ahearn, executive director ofParents for Megan's Law, said it is impossible to rehabilitate child sex abusers, and thereforethey all should be considered high-risk offenders when they get out of prison. She believesInghilleri is a threat. I would think most child sex offenders will say they'd stay awayfrom children, she said. He deserves to be classified a high-risk offender not only becauseof the sexual abuse he committed, but also because of the other ways he and Linda Inghilleriexploited Beers, Ahearn said. He and his family used her as a virtual slave, Ahearnsaid. Anything that could happen to take away her innocence happened. He does pose arisk to the community. Inghilleri may have wanted to return to his wife when he was releasedbut his wife says he can forget it. I'm definitely not taking him back, said LindaInghilleri. She said she is reliving the 11 year old crimes. Katie was put in adungeon by John and I was put in a dungeon by Sal, she said. She had no idea back then thather husband had committed such awful deeds, she said. Esposito is serving a 15 years to lifesentence. A hearing was set to take place for Inghilleri, but he complained of chest painsand was taken from the Suffolk County jail to Central Suffolk Hospital in Riverhead. He wastransferred to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was listed in serious but stablecondition. At a previous court date, Inghilleri refused to come into the courtroom from aholding cell because he was worried the stress would cause a heart attack. Suffolk CountyJudge Ralph Gazzillo, told Inghilleri's attorney that he could stay in the cell during the hearing,but he would have to come out to hear the result. I will give him his [risk level]determination to his face, Gazzillo said. He will be in this courtroom. WithInghilleri fresh from heart surgery, he stayed in his holding cell during the hearing. Heemerged, at Gazzillo's insistence, to hear the ruling, walking with a cane. Gazzilloclassified Inghilleri as a high-risk offender. The defendant has a history of immoral acts,some of which were captured by law enforcement, and some of which were not, Gazzillo said. Inghilleri's attorney plans to file an appeal. In classifying him a high-risk offender,Gazzillo said he found Inghilleri's recent professions of remorse unconvincing. Until hismost recent parole, hearing, Inghilleri blamed any sexual contact on Beers. A hearing tookplace because the district attorney's office objected to the initial assessment of the state Boardof Examiners of Sex Offenders, which said Inghilleri posed a low risk to the community. As ahigh-risk offender, Inghilleri will have to report every 90 days for the rest of his life, and hisaddress and details of his crime will be available to the public. Beers, who has lived withan East End foster family since her ordeal, kept her distance from the hearing. She hasdeclined to comment on Inghilleri's release and told the district attorney's office she did notwant to take part in the hearing.
Turns out, nobody wants sicko Inghillieri. He is stuck in prison despite his havingwon release more than 18 months ago. Because Megan's Law restrictions make it nearlyimpossible for the ailing man to find a new home, he remains in the Collins Correctional Facilityin Erie County. It is difficult in general to find a suitable residence for people whocommit these types of crimes, but the Division of Parole continues to actively search for asuitable residence, said Tom Grant, a state Division of Parole spokesman.
In July 2006, his prison term will max out, or be completely served, giving the state nochoice but to release him.
Inghilleri failed to disclose his new address, as required of all registered sex offenders,and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. He had been missing since May 2007. Hewas discovered in North Carolina, hiding beneath some clothes in a bedroom closet. Inghilleriwas charged with being a fugitive from justice and failing to register as a sex offender, a felonyin North Carolina. He was arraigned and ordered held on $250,000 bail. He waivedextradition to New York, where he will be charged with a misdemeanor for not notifying police abouthis change in address.
On October 11, 2007, Inghilleri was held on $100,000 cash bail. He appeared in courtin Riverhead as Judge Gazzillo rejected his lawyer's request to lower his bail to $10,000.
Inghilleri never had a chance on April 7, 2008, to make it out the front door of SuffolkCounty Court in Riverhead. His attorney, Thomas Kenniff of Mineola, went into the courthearing thinking his client might be released on bail after a judge ruled last week that theSuffolk district attorney's office could charge him with only a misdemeanor - not a felon - forfailing to register as a sex offender. But Inghilleri's troubles with the criminal justicesystem escalated markedly instead as federal prosecutors charged him with violating federal lawshortly after Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn refused to reduce his $100,000 bail.
Inghilleri died in jail on February 21, 2009, apparently the victim of a heart attack.
Esposito died in jail on September 4, 2013 of natural causes. Early that day headmitted for the first time that he inappropriately touched Katie when he abducted her, accordingto his parole hearing on the day he died.