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Forsyth County 8-year-old takes stand in case involving registered sex offender

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John Sabbaghrabaiotti

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — An 8-year-old Forsyth County boy, with his right hand often covering his face, testified Monday that a registered sex offender molested him on New Year’s Eve in 2013, just before the man took the boy bowling, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

John Fredeic Sabbaghrabaiotti, 45, of Mount Pleasant Drive, is charged with two counts of sexual offense with a child, one count of taking indecent liberties with a child and felony sex offender-employment violation.

The boy was 7 when the alleged incident happened, Assistant District Attorney Pansy Glanton said in opening statements in Forsyth Superior Court.

Sabbaghrabaiotti was a family friend.

The boy fidgeted as he answered questions both from Glanton and later from Paul James, the attorney representing Sabbaghrabaiotti. Glanton said in opening statements that the alleged sexual abuse happened in Sabbaghrabaiotti’s house.

When Glanton asked the boy what happened on New Year’s Eve, he paused for a long time before answering.

The boy testified that they had gone to Sabbaghrabaiotti’s house and that Sabbaghrabaiotti had looked on a computer to make sure the bowling alley was open that night.

They were in Sabbaghrabaiotti’s bedroom, the boy said.

He said that Sabbaghrabaiotti performed a sex act on the boy and touched him inappropriately.

When Glanton asked how he felt after the incident, the boy said, “Bad.”

After the sexual encounter, the boy testified, he and Sabbaghrabaiotti went bowling.

During cross-examination, James pointed out what called inconsistencies in the boy’s testimony. For example, the boy, on cross-examination, said that Sabbaghrabaiotti touched him before and after the bowling trip, but the boy didn’t appear to say the same thing on direct examination.

According to testimony, the boy did not tell anyone until around January 10, when he told his grandmother. On cross-examination, James asked the boy what prompted him to tell his grandmother. The boy testified that he didn’t remember.

Under cross-examination, the boy also appeared confused about the exact timeline of events leading to the alleged sexual abuse, saying several times that he didn’t know or he didn’t remember.

Sabbaghrabaiotti had volunteered to care for the boy despite being a registered sex offender, according to an arrest warrant. The law prohibits registered sex offenders from working at any place where a minor is present and the person’s responsibilities or activities would include instruction, supervision or care of a minor or minors.

The prohibition covers self-employment and applies whether that person gets paid or not.

In October 2006, Sabbaghrabaiotti was convicted of two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, according to state correction records. He served four years and eight months in prison and was released in July 2011.

The trial is expected to last three to four days.