Jury convicts Central Falls man of multiple counts of child molestation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a Central Falls man has been found guilty in Providence County Superior Court of multiple counts of child molestation against two female victims between 2015 and 2017.


On June 8, 2023, following the conclusion of a six-day jury trial before Superior Court Justice Joseph A. Montalbano, the jury found Celestino Ribeiro (age 65) guilty of three counts of first-degree child molestation and three counts of second-degree child molestation.


The defendant is currently being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) pending a sentencing hearing to be scheduled for a later date.


“The victims in this case not only had to endure unimaginable abuse at the hands of this defendant, but also had to endure facing their abuser during their court testimony. There are no words to describe the admiration I have for their courage,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I want to thank the prosecution team and the Central Falls Police Department who have all done an outstanding job in the investigation and prosecution of this case. And most of all I want to thank the jury for delivering justice, vindicating the victims, and holding this defendant accountable.”


During the trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that between 2015 and 2017, the defendant molested two female victims under the age of 14, who were known to him, at homes in Pawtucket and Central Falls.


In 2017, one of the victims reported the molestation to their school nurse after learning about “bad touching” in health class. A school social worker then spoke to the other victim, who too confirmed molestation by the defendant.


“Detectives from the Central Falls Police Department worked very diligently with the members of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office to ensure that this defendant was brought to justice,” said Central Falls Police Chief Anthony Roberson. “Sexual assaults against minors have a resounding and devastating effect on the victims and their families. We are indebted to the victims for providing their full cooperation, assistance, and brave voice throughout these criminal proceedings.”


Assistant Attorney General Meghan McDonough and Special Assistant Attorney General Ariel Pittner of the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Stephanie Ruano and Sergeant Omar Ospina of the Central Falls Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.