SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 14, 2013

Former Essex man admits assaulting girl, 10

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — ESSEX — A former Essex man now living in Virginia pleaded guilty to charges that he repeatedly assaulted a 10-year-old girl during the summer of 2003.

Christopher Cushna, 44, who now lives in Norfolk, Va., and works as a driver for the American Red Cross, was originally charged in 2010 with eight counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.

But under the terms of a plea agreement accepted yesterday in Salem Superior Court, Cushna pleaded guilty only to reduced charges of assault and battery. He received a sentence of three years of probation. He will not have to register as a sex offender.

The plea was the result of negotiations that came about amid concerns about the ability of the girl, who is now 19 and disabled, to testify in the case.

The incidents occurred at Cushna’s home between June and August of 2003.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.