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Conn. Man Sentenced In NYC Class-Trip Groping Case

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Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (AP) — A Connecticut father’s drinking problem spurred his admitted groping of a fifth-grade girl on a school field trip, a judge said Monday as he sentenced the man to six months he’s already served in jail and a decade of probation.

Tomas Manzano, 35, didn’t speak at his sentencing in a New York court. He pleaded guilty last month to attempted sexual abuse.

Manzano was a parent chaperone on his son’s Stillmeadow Elementary School class trip from Stamford, Conn., to the Central Park Zoo and other New York destinations June 2.

On the double-decker bus ride, Manzano started swigging from a bottle of what smelled like alcohol and then inappropriately stroked and touched a series of 10- and 11-year-old girls, who remained fully clothed, authorities said. In his guilty plea, he admitted touching one girl’s inner thigh.

Manzano ignored teachers who told him to stop and became so combative it took at least eight police officers to arrest him, prosecutors said.

“This all came about because of his alcohol problem,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro said Monday. He ordered Manzano to get alcohol and sex-offender counseling as part of his probation; Manzano also will have to register as a sex offender.

Manzano is “relieved this is finally over,” said his lawyer, Paul D. Petrus Jr.

Manzano is a laid-off law firm clerical staffer who went on to teach snowboarding, his lawyer said.

Stillmeadow Elementary’s principal didn’t immediately return a telephone call Monday.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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