NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Staten Island man appeared in court Tuesday on charges he allegedly tried to sell the baby of a woman he dated on Craigslist for $100.
Paul Marquez, 23, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, harassment and a social service violation of authority to place or board out children.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was being held on $1,000 bail on Rikers Island, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
Authorities said Marquez and the baby’s 19-year-old mother had recently started dating and he told police he got upset when the woman wasn’t showing much interest in him.
According to the criminal complaint, Marquez, who works as a stockperson at a Victoria’s Secret, admitted he posted the listing just to get back at the woman. The baby’s mother was not in court on Tuesday.
Following his court appearance Tuesday, Marquez’s family came out to defend him.
“He’s a good kid, it was a stupid mistake that he did. Bottom line, he was on heavy medication ’cause he broke his leg, that’s all. He didn’t mean no harm, there wasn’t nothing malice about it,” one family member said.
He allegedly listed the ad under the “baby and kids” section of the site in a post riddled with spelling errors:
“heyy i have a 2 month old baby [name redacted] she loves to play nd have her little fun but there is only 1 problem, the doctor said that she has asthma nd if she turns a certain way she can stop breathing, she’s really getting on my nerves nd I don’t want her Please email me.”
Prosecutors said Marquez gave the mother’s phone number to a person who answered the ad, who then called the mother. She notified police.
Staten Island investigators are looking into that person’s request. The call may have been out of concern and not an illegal attempt to purchase a child.
The ad was flagged and taken down at least once, but Marquez reposted it, authorities said. There was no indication Marquez actually meant to sell the infant.
Those who know him say they are stunned, especially since he has a 2-year-old daughter himself.
“He’s quiet, that’s all I can say,” said neighbor James Scott. “He don’t seem like that type of kid.”
“He’s got his own child,” said a friend. “He’s basically a doting father. He probably did it as a joke.”
Marquez faces up to a year behind bars if convicted.
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