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NY man on trial for rape accusations in stepdaughter's college essay

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A jury on Wednesday deliberated the fate of a New York man on trial for rape after his stepdaughter wrote in her college application essay about being sexually abused by him as a child.

Albert Tarrats, 62, of Brooklyn faces a 25-year prison sentence if he is convicted by the jury in State Supreme Court in the borough, court officials said.

Tarrats was arrested on rape charges in 2012, soon after his stepdaughter, now 18, wrote to college admission officers that Tarrats sexually abused her repeatedly over several months when she was 8 years old, according to prosecutors.

"Her mother read the essay and contacted a rape hot line, which put her in touch with police," Kings County District Attorney spokeswoman Helen Peterson said.

Peterson could not confirm reports that the stepdaughter wrote the essay in response to a question about what events had shaped her life.

She also could not confirm that the teenager used the essay to apply to a college in Florida and that she was accepted to the school.

Tarrats' attorney Ernest Hammer declined to comment on the case on Wednesday.

The New York Daily News reported that Hammer argued in court that the teenager's mother, who was divorced from Tarrats, used the rape allegation as revenge against her ex-husband.

Hammer also said in court that the teen had used the rape claims to impress the college admissions committee, the Daily News reported.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Grant McCool)

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