Police: East Haven man allegedly sexually assaulted minors over ‘several years’

Photo of Ben Lambert
Herman Zuniga

Herman Zuniga

East Haven Police Department

EAST HAVEN — A town man was arrested Tuesday, accused of sexually assaulting underage individuals over a period of years, according to police.

Herman Zuniga, 57, of Dodge Avenue, is charged with first-degree sexual assault, two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and three counts of illegal sexual contact, victim under 16, Capt. Joseph Murgo said in an email.

Murgo said the initial complaint was submitted in April, when “several victims” alleged Zuniga “sexually assaulted them over a period of several years when he was tasked with looking after them.”

In investigating the case, Detective John Fraenza determined that there allegedly were three underage victims, Murgo said.

“In many of the encounters, it’s alleged that Zuniga would create opportunities to be alone with the victims, all minors, before sexually assaulting them at his residence or in his car. During some of the encounters, which occurred once a week for a large period of time, its alleged that Zuniga would pay the victims money not to tell anyone,” said Murgo. “Many of these alleged encounters were discovered during forensic interviews with Licensed Clinical Social Workers at the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic.”

Zuniga was arrested Tuesday at his residence without incident, Murgo said. He was held in lieu of a $250,000 court-set bond and arraigned Wednesday.

His bond was reduced to $150,000 at the arraignment, according to state judicial records. He remained in custody and is next scheduled to appear in court Nov. 2.

Zuniga has not yet entered a plea in the case, according to judicial records.

william.lambert@hearstmediact.com