Wayne Iacono Jr., 31, pleaded guilty in Edgartown District Court Thursday to indecent assault and battery of a person 14 years or older. Judge John Julian sentenced Iacono to one year in the Dukes County jail and three years probation.
The plea comes following an investigation by Chilmark Police and the Massachusetts State Police.
Per a synopsis read into the record by Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Matt Palazzolo, in July, 2021, the victim and another 14-year-old companion met two men in their 30s who were in a pickup truck in Menemsha. The girls got in the pickup and made plans to go swimming and to buy alcohol. After going to a package store and to Iacono’s house for towels, the victim and her companion went swimming with the men, and drank at a beach.
The victim then went to get a pizza with Iacono and later went to Iacono’s house, according to Palazzolo. It was not made clear what happened to the other two people at that point.
The victim had some drinks, and then took a shower at Iacono’s house, Palazzolo said. Iacono went into the shower and groped the victim, who, Palazzolo said, had described herself at the time as “drunk and falling over.”
The victim attempted to stave off Iacono, Palazzolo said, by making clear that she was a “virgin” and that she wanted to save herself for “someone special.”
According to Palazzolo, Iacono replied, “The Vineyard is a pretty special place.”
The next memory the victim could recall, Palazzolo said, “due to intoxication,” was being in a bed with Iacono in the midst of sex.
Iacono’s sentence was agreed upon between his defense attorney, Charlie Morano, and the prosecution. The prosecution opted to nolle prosequi — to not prosecute — charges of rape of a child by force and aggravated statutory rape.
Iacono was also ordered to have no contact with the victim. While slated to serve one year, technically he was sentenced to 2.5 years in the house of corrections, with one year to serve and the balance suspended.
Palazzolo and Morano disagreed on Iacono registering as a sex offender. In his arguments against Iacono registering, Morano noted Iacono has no prior criminal record. “This was a mistake on his part,” Morano said.
Morano added he doubts what transpired would have happened had Iacono known the age of the victim.
Morano also said a psychological evaluation of his client determined he is “not a pedophile.”
In arguing for registration, Palazzolo said that per the victim’s impact statement, “This was her first sexual experience. It has had a traumatic effect on her and her family ever since this happened over a year ago.”
Palazzolo argued there could be no mistaking the victim for an adult, and recalled his observations in a Zoom meeting with her that lasted for more than an hour.
“As an officer of the court, I can say she doesn’t look like she’s 18,” Palazzolo said. “She’s a 14-year-old girl. This isn’t someone within a couple months of 18. She is clearly a child.”
Palazzolo said the statute is “clear” that someone must register if they plead guilty to indecent assault and battery on a person 14 years or older.
Judge Julian said he would take arguments regarding sex offender registration under advisement.