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FORT EDWARD — The New York City teen who was accused of kidnapping a Hudson Falls girl last fall, setting off a massive manhunt and Amber Alert, rejected a plea deal offer Wednesday that would require him to plead guilty to the weightiest charge and serve a minimum of 5 years in state prison.

George Torres, 19, rejected the plea offer as pretrial hearings in his case got underway in Washington County Court for his interaction with a 12-year-old Hudson Falls girl who ran away from home last Sept. 26.

Washington County First Assistant District Christian Morris said his office would accept a plea to second-degree kidnapping to satisfy the charges in the case, with no agreed-upon sentence. Under state law, the charge is punishable by between 5 and 25 years in prison.

“That is not acceptable at this point,” defense lawyer Robert Winn told Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan.

Torres, a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, has pleaded not guilty to felony counts of kidnapping, sexually motivated felony and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the girl’s disappearance last Sept. 26. He admitted that he drove to Hudson Falls to pick her up, but said he believed she was of legal age based on their social media conversations.

Witnesses said she got in his car willingly, and a parent reported her missing later that day.

Police used technology to trace her to New York City, and she was found unharmed two days later, after meeting up with another man who has been charged with first-degree rape for an alleged sexual encounter with her in New York City after she left Torres.

Torres told police he thought the girl was 18 from the online correspondence they had. A New York City detective testified Wednesday that Torres expressed surprise to learn her real age from police after she left his Staten Island apartment the morning of Sept. 27. The girl looked considerably older than 12 at the time of her disappearance.

Detective Omar Delcid said Torres told police the matter “was a big misunderstanding” and that when he found out the girl’s age, he took her to the Staten Island Ferry station at her request.

Delcid said Torres called him after learning that police were looking for him, and asked to come down to the precinct to explain what happened. He was questioned for about an hour and was later turned over to State Police, who brought him to Washington County

Delcid said he believed Torres’ reaction when told the girl’s true age “wasn’t genuine,” although he didn’t elaborate on why he drew that conclusion.

The police officers who questioned Torres testified Wednesday, while McKeighan works to determine whether Torres’ statements were taken lawfully and can be used at trial. McKeighan reserved decision.

The police also interviewed a friend of Torres’ who accompanied him to Hudson Falls to pick up the girl.

Winn has asked for the kidnapping, sexually motivated felony and tampering with physical evidence charges to be dismissed, arguing the girl was not held against her will and had lied to Torres about her age. Evidence showed she willingly went with Torres, with two of her friends watching her get in the car with him after school on Sept. 26 and after convincing him via online conversations to come get her.

The district attorney’s office has contended that she could not legally consent to go with him because of her age, so her disappearance amounted to kidnapping, and that he had sexual contact with her outside Washington County.

McKeighan said a ruling on that motion will be issued in the coming days.

Trial in the case has been set to begin April 1.

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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