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Trial of convicted sex offender Sean Vickers begins today

The witnesses are now grown men, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told jurors this afternoon to open the trial of Sean Vickers, accused of sexual abuse.

The alleged crimes occurred 12 years ago, but the scars remain, Friedman said.

"He (Vickers) damaged the boys by what he did to them in the late '90s," Friedman said.

Vickers, already a convicted sex offender, was indicted in November on 10 felony sexual abuse counts, including predatory sexual abuse.

According to Friedman, Vickers got to know the family and the kids; he built trust with the families and would often spend overnights in their homes.

"This (the children) is what the case is about," Friedman said. "Through the testimony of the boys and witnesses, you will hear an admission of guilt by the defendant himself; and based on the evidence you will hear and see, I ask that you return a verdict of guilt."

In rebuttal, Defense Attorney Jerry Ader asked the jury to follow the law and not emotion.

"You haven't heard the evidence or the witnesses," Ader said. "You don't know enough at this point to make a decision. You have to listen to every element on all the charges and they have to be proven without a reasonable doubt.

"Emotions run high in a case like this, listen to the evidence, follow the law," Ader continued.

Ader asked the jurors to judge each crime individually, reminding them that they swore an oath to follow the law to wherever the decision may lead. He also noted that the surface has just been scratched and to not just judge on the basis that children were involved.

"Keep an open mind. These are complex charges," Ader said.

According to the first witness, a member of the clergy, Vickers openly confessed in the presence of his then wife, to sexually abusing two of his stepchildren. The witness stated that Vickers and his wife had come to him in November 2004 and informed him of what Vickers had done. The witness encouraged Vickers to turn himself in and his wife to get help for her boys so they may begin the healing process.

The former Batavia resident is charged with course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree; predatory sexual assault against a child in the first degree; abuse of a child in the first degree; and endangering the welfare of a child.

The trial resumed at 2 p.m.

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