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Queens mom reveals details of prior contact between accused predator and 5-year-old girl | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


A Queens mom revealed shocking details of her 5-year-old daughter’s interactions with a 75-year-old stranger in a bizarre case where she acknowledged leaving the child alone with the accused elderly predator.

The mother, in an exclusive interview with the Daily News, recalled how senior citizen Franz Vila showered attention on the alleged victim after they first crossed paths in the spring on the street near their Queens apartment when the little girl went over to say hello.

“He told me he had kids and grandkids,” said the mom, who saw no hints of the suspect’s intentions. “But I don’t know if that is true. I thought nothing was going to happen. I thought, ‘He has grandkids.’ “

The mom’s assessment proved wildly inaccurate. She recounted finding the Manhattan man in the shower with her little girl, adding he asked her to remove her clothes and told the mother to dress her without underwear.

Vila was arrested last Tuesday on charges of false imprisonment, child endangerment and criminal sex act on a minor after taking the girl to a Queens playground with the mom’s approval and never returning.

But before that — he twice visited the victim’s home at the invitation of the mother.

“He buys her dresses,” the mother said, adding she saw the defendant as a grandfatherly figure when they first met about three months ago. “I told her not to be naked with him. He wants her just in dresses and shorts without underwear.

“He says it’s really hot out.”

The mother, who is not being identified to shield the identity of her daughter, admitted that she had made a mistake in letting the man into her life.

“I don’t know why I did that,” she said. “I question myself. I thought maybe he was normal.”

The mom said that Vila occasionally bought groceries for the family.

Friday, the girl’s father retained custody of the child at a Queens Family Court hearing at which the mother appeared two days after her release from jail on charges tied to her daughter’s alleged molestation. The judge in the case will determine the level of abuse and neglect of the child and decide on appropriate social services for the child and visitation for the mom, a child welfare source said.

The mother acknowledged she failed to shut down access to the child, even after learning of the inappropriate conduct between the old man and her daughter.

“I don’t know why I did that,” she said. “I question myself. I thought maybe he was normal.”

Vila’s son, speaking with The News, said his immigrant dad — now held on $275,000 cash bond — was a former college professor with no criminal record and the patriarch to a family of six adult children and nine grandkids.

“He’s never been in any legal trouble in the past,” said the son. “He’s always been a very kind and respectful and joyous person. … I have a very good, a very high opinion of him.”

The mother was initially arrested by the NYPD for acting in a manner injurious to a child under the age of 17, but the Queens district attorney’s office declined to prosecute and sealed the record. The Queens DA said that they would continue to investigate the case.

Vila’s criminal complaint said the mother ran into him last Tuesday morning outside a Jackson Heights supermarket and asked if he could watch the girl at a nearby park for about 30 minutes.

When the mom returned, the man was gone, along with her little girl, setting off an NYPD search for the suspect. Authorities said he took the child back to his Upper East Side apartment, sexually abused the girl and then took her on a subway back to Queens.

The mom was taken into custody this past Tuesday after a good Samaritan recognized the missing child and the suspect from an NYPD alert, leading to Vila’s arrest.

Vila’s lawyer, Alex Moulter, did not return a phone message asking for comment on the mom’s accusations.

The mother is now limited to only supervised visits with her daughter under a temporary order of protection issued by Judge Margaret Morgan in the twisted case.

The City Administration for Children’s Services was brought in to oversee the father’s care of the child, with everyone due back in court this coming Tuesday.

The mom said she’s hoping now for a second chance at raising the girl.

“I just want to see her,” she said. “I am a good mom. But I need a lot of help so I can take care of her.”



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