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Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Molester had abundant opportunities to sexually abuse kids in this case, but so did many others

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Four new witnesses were called to the stand when testimony resumed this afternoon in the child sex abuse case of convicted child molester Sean Vickers.

Though their testimonies were mostly compelling, defense attorney Jerry Ader managed to point out gaps in recollections, dates and other specifics in an effort to cast a shadow of doubt in the jurors' minds.

Among those who took the stand was a 25-year-old prisoner brought in by officers from another county. He wore a white shirt, tan pants, ankle shackles, and looked dead ahead from the witness stand.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman straightaway dispatched with the witness's criminal record. The man is serving time for criminal trespass and two counts of first-degree attempted sexual abuse of a minor. He pled guilty when he was 17 of unlawfully entering the home of an acquaintance and forcibly touching the genitals of two females, ages 7 and 11. He has served more than five years, out of a maximum of eight, and his third parole hearing is this fall.

Then Friedman asked about Vickers.

The alleged victim said he is one of five boys in his family, Vickers was an adult relative, and that from the time period of November 2001 to April 2002, Vickers had performed oral sex on him and vice-versa at least five or more times.

At that point, several of the jurors stared hard at Vickers. They were all paying attention.

On cross-examination, Ader honed in on the witness's credibility.

Ader contended that the witness has an ulterior motivation for coming forward now and telling about alleged oral sexual conduct with Vickers. The witness's time off for good behavior was voided due to problems during his incarceration. To convince authorities to give the credits back, and have that recommendation made at his third parole hearing in September, he's testifying today, Ader maintained.

In 2004, Ader noted, nothing was mentioned about oral sexual contact, nine years later it surfaces.

But upon questioning by Friedman, it was pointed out that the witness didn't reach out to police about Vickers, rather the police contacted the witness in order to re-interview him for this case about his contact with Vickers.

Next, Ader asked the witness if one someone had been removed from his mother's home. The witness said Child Protective Services had ordered Vickers to be removed from the home.

That's not the answer he was looking for, so he ignored the statement. He asked about one of his brothers. Was one of them was removed from the home?

"Yes."

"Were you ever told why?"

"No."

"Did you ever wonder why?"

"Yes."

Did (this brother) ever touch you inappropriately?"

"Yes."

The next witness was a 23-year-old brother of the first witness. Friedman questioned him about getting in trouble with the police. The young man told the jurors that in August of 2002 he got caught throwing rocks at the sand wash on Cedar Street and the cops took him to his house in Batavia. Only Vickers was there and they began arguing. Then the boy went in the basement to fold laundry. Vickers came down there and told him he was in big trouble. When the boy was standing against the washing machine, he said Vickers "touched my groin area...probably less than a minute. ... I ran upstairs. I was afraid."

From November 2001 to February 2004, Vickers sexually molested him on several occasions, the second witness said. Specifically, Vickers performed oral sex on him. The witness at this point appeared a bit uncomfortable, yawning nervously and wriggling about.

It was the dates of those instances that Ader parsed. How could he remember the dates? Are you saying you can remember this from 10 years ago?

The witness said he remembers the date of the time in the laundry room because it was the first real trouble he'd gotten into. The second time in which he recalled a specific date was because "it was Buffalo Bills day."

An exhibit was then entered into the court record -- an affidavit which he signed in May of 2013. It describes his run-in with police, arguing with Vickers about it, but nothing about sexual contact. It says he was 11, but he was actually 8 at the time. And the statement about an instance of abuse on Buffalo Bills day says he was 8, but he was actually 11.

"You really don't have a good memory about this do you?"

"No," the witness replied. "It's hard enough as it is."

Next the prisoner was recalled to the stand and simply asked if the alleged abuse occurred at the same address (the one his brother cited). "Yes."

The third witness for the prosecution testified that he knows one of the alleged victims, from another family, because his brother is married to the child's mother.

Last August, with Vickers behind the wheel, the third witness and his brother all went to the IMAX theater in Rochester to see a movie. The brother, having some knowlege of the alleged molestation, asked Vickers if he had been touching the child. The answer was yes. The brother said "stay away from our house." "Okay," the previously convicted molester replied.

This witness, too, has had legal problems. In 2009, at age 17, he entered guilty pleas to several misdemeanors, including stealing bicycles out of people's yards, shoplifting at Walmart, and more serious, providing alcohol to minors. He spent a year in jail and then was put on probation.

When Ader asked about the movie trip, he wanted to know if the radio was on, was it loud, since he had a cell phone with him -- why didn't he text and tell someone about Vickers' alleged admission of guilt?

The third witness said when he returned home that night, he did tell the child's mother.

The final witness was this child's mother -- a married woman who has two sons, ages 11 and 9.

She testified that from Spring 2012 to Spring 2013, Vickers often had contact with her family, as he was a relation by marriage. They went skiing, to movies, on picnics.

"He paid for things, like a Kindle Fire, rollerblades, bought Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, expensive things," she said. "At times he spent the night in our attic, it's finished, it's a bedroom. He slept on a pad on the floor."

The district attorney elicited that her sister has twin boys and they often spent nights at the witness's house as well, including about four or five overnight stays when Vickers was staying over.

The mother bit her lip repeatedly. Swallowed hard. Teared up.

She told the panel that today her youngest son has attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder; he is emotionally disturbed; suffers from anxiety; and has also been diagnosed with "behavorial defiance disorder."

Then she talked more about Vickers.

"Sean would pay for us (she and her husband) to go do things and he said he'd pay for it and he'd babysit."

And how many times did this type of arrangement occur? Friedman asked.

"Fifty times or more," she replied.

Ader asked if her brother-in-law had told her about the conversation he had with Vickers in the car on the way to the movies. Yes, she said. Ader asked if her youngest son had told her he had been "touched." No, she said.

By this time, the impassive, pale-faced Vickers started taking notes on a legal pad. He is diminutive, balding and gray in back; he wore a black suit. He is slight of chin and completely unremarkable in mien.

The last witness further testified that she had not alerted the police after her brother-in-law relayed the car conversation because she had already done so "long before."

The defense attorney's next line of questioning brought forth testimony that many guests came and went at her household, including one who had been convicted of providing alcohol to minors.

There were plenty of guests.

"More than I'd like," she said.

The case resumes tomorrow morning.

(Batavia PD Det. Kevin Czora also testified, simply that he investigated the case; no details.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Le Roy fire's treasurer accused of stealing close to $50K from department

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy
Dennis Snow

Press release:

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the arrest of Dennis Snow, the treasurer of the Le Roy Fire Department in Genesee County. Snow was charged with two counts of grand larceny in the third degree (class D felony), 42 counts of forgery in the first degree (class C felony) and two counts of falsifying business records in the first degree (class E felony) for allegedly stealing nearly $50,000 in public funds.

“This individual blatantly abused his position and went on a spending spree with public money,” DiNapoli said. “It is alarming that my office continues to uncover instances such as this where local officials misuse their office for their personal benefit. I commend the village of Le Roy Police Department and District Attorney (Lawrence) Friedman for working closely with my staff to make sure this individual is held accountable for his actions.”

DiNapoli’s office found that Snow allegedly made unauthorized transfers, withdrawals and deposits from the department’s account, as well as from the firemen's benevolent association. Snow used the money to pay his personal bills and admitted that he forged the required co-signers signatures in order to complete his theft. The audit is expected to be finalized in the next month. Snow is due back in court on Aug. 13.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Police trying to determine if pair of crimes last week are related

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Police investigators are looking into separate incidents last week to try and determine if the crimes are related and identify suspects.

The first incident involved a robbery in the area of Tracy and Washington avenues in which three people robbed a pedestrian at about 11:20 p.m., July 19.

The second incident was two nights later and involved four individuals jumping a victim in the area of State Street and Willow Street.

While the robbery was previously reported, BPD has released suspect descriptions. 

The three youths are described as a black male, late teens, wearing a dark-colored hoodie; a light-skinned male in his late teens wearing a white tie-died muscle shirt; and, a person in the late teens with no other description provided.

One of the teens threatened the victim with the use of a weapon and told him to give him his money. The victim did not see a weapon displayed, but followed orders and handed over his money.

In the second incident, the victim was sitting on a porch talking with a friend when a person approached and asked to speak with him along the side of the house. 

As he moved to the side of the house, three other individuals surrounded him. 

The first person started a confrontation with the victim and the other three people jumped in.

A witness called police and when police arrived, the suspects ran.

One juvenile was detained and later released to a parent. 

The 20-year-old victim was treated at the scene by Mercy EMS and said he didn't require further treatment. 

Anyone having information should contact the Batavia Police at 345-6350 or confidentially via e-mail on the City of Batavia Web site link to the Batavia Police or Tip Line 345-6370.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 9:33 am

Law and Order: Alexander resident accused of stealing from employer

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion

Dennis C. Bump, 33, of Stannard Road, Alexander, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Bump is accused of stealing from his employer at various locations in Batavia. Bump was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Ann M. Capuano, 29, of West Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. The underlying charges for her court appearance in this case were not released by police. She had been issued an appearance ticket on a previous matter. Capuano was released on $100 cash bail.

Desmond L. Majors, 21, of Walden Creek Drive, Batavia, is charged with two counts of harassment, 2nd, and disorderly conduct. Majors allegedly struck another person and yelled obscenities in a public place.

Kenisha A. Thomas, 16, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd. Thomas is accused of assaulting another person while in Austin Park at 3:10 p.m., Sunday.

Daniel Robert Ruffner, 28, of Telephone Road, Pavilion, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Ruffner is accused of being the primary aggressor in a fight with another person.

Laurie J. Lerkins, 37, of Le Roy, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs and unlawful possession of marijuana. Lerkins was reportedly involved in a two-car accident on Route 98, Town of Java. Lerkins allegedly failed to maintain her lane and struck a vehicle driven by Rodney L. Gleason, 53, of North Chili. Upon subsequent investigation by state troopers, Lerkins was allegedly found to be under the influence of drugs. She was issued traffic tickets for failure to keep right, aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operation and failure to notify DMV of a change of address.

Also, a Grand Jury indictment:

Cassandra R. Blake is indicted on one count of grand larceny, 4th. Blake is accused of stealing 245 lottery tickets with a face value of $1,028, along with payouts from those tickets and other cash, from the Yellow Goose store in Pavilion on or about June 21 and 22.

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 10:23 am

Police confirm series of car break-ins on south side of city

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A reader asked us to look into reports of a series of car break-ins in the city. We e-mailed Chief Shawn Heubusch and here's his response:

There have been several reported thefts from vehicles in the past month throughout the south side of the city. No suspects have been identified at this time. People in the area are strongly encouraged not to leave any valuable items in their vehicles and to keep their vehicles locked at all times. Most thefts from vehicles are crimes of opportunity and therefore little to no force is used. By keeping your car locked, and alarm active if you have one, will deter thieves from targeting your vehicle. Residents should contact the City Dispatcher at 345-6350 if they see suspicious activity taking place in their neighborhood.

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

Law and Order: Use of 'Find My Phone' app leads to arrest

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Barbara E. Ferrando, 42, of West Main Street, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Ferrando was allegedly found in possession of a stolen phone after the victim tracked the phone using the "Find My Phone" app and located a moving vehicle pulling into the Walmart parking lot. The victim was able to provide an accurate description of Ferrando and her vehicle. The arrest was made by Officer Jason Davis and Sgt. Christopher Camp.

Oliver Thomas, 22, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd, menacing, 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Thomas was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 10:46 p.m. July 23. Thomas was jailed on $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond.

Lamar L. Mobley, 20, of Wood Street, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, open container, speed not reasonable and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Mobley is accused of being involved in a hit-and-run accident at 3:53 a.m. Sunday on Bank Street, Batavia. The accident was investigated by Officer Devon Pahuta.

Stephan P. Durham, 17, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2rd, criminal mischief, 3rd, grand larceny, 4th, and criminal possession of stolen property. Durham is accused of breaking into an impound lot, breaking a car window and stealing property from the car. Durham was jailed without bail.

Alexander L. Jordan, 19, of Ridge Road, Ontario, Canada, is charged with menacing, 3rd. Jordan allegedly physically threatened another person while in the parking lot of Tim Horton's at 11:25 p.m. on July 20.

Coty A. Patrizi, 24, of Morton Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from an unreasonable noise complaint. 

Alex S. Dumbleton, 21, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation, criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. The charges stem from alleged domestic incident reported at 4:18 a.m. July 23. Dumbleton was jailed without bail.

Willie Albert Sabb Jr., 40, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Sabb is accused of being in the presence of two people in violation of an order of protection.

Byron R. Lee, 47, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Lee is accused of shoplifting from the deli department of Tops.

Dakota Patrick Pursel, 17, of Pavilion Warsaw Road, Pavilion, is charged with making graffiti and criminal tampering, 3rd. Pursel is accused of writing on windows, window sills, doors and brick walls at Pavilion High School.

Richard John Abramski, 26, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Abaramski was allegedly found in possession of suboxone while serving an intermittent sentence at the Genesee County Jail.

Sean Douglas Lacy, 27, of West Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with conspiracy, 5th. Lacy was allegedly involved in an incident at 12:32 a.m. Friday on Swamp Road, Byron, along with two other individuals, that resulted in the reckless discharge of a firearm.

Brian Paul O'Grady, 49, of Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding (55 in a 35 mph zone), failure to keep right and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. O'Grady was stopped at 1:15 a.m. July 22 on East Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Eric Seppala.

Norman D. Brockenshire, 58, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief 4th/preventing emergency call and harassment, 2nd. Brockenshire was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 1:15 p.m., Saturday. The investigation was handled by the State Police.

Ravae S. Quonce, 27, of Syracuse, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Quonce was stopped at 9:56 p.m. Friday on Simonds Road, Darien, by State Police.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Six arrests reported at Keith Urban concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office during the Keith Urban concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday.

Veronica E. Dudla, 19, of Carolyn Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, after allegedly impersonating another person. She was also issued a ticket for alleged possession of another’s license.

Tyler J. Sobkowiak, 19, of Dean Road, Depew, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Nicholas M. Boulard, 22, of College Road, Stevensville, Ontario, Canada, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Sara E. Friedman, 26, of Ayrshire Lane, Henrietta, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance in the campground.

Dominic J. Manarasi, 24, of 26th Street, Niagara Falls, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching a security guard.

Breanna M. Rivers, 23, of Rhode Island Avenue, Niagara Falls, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly pushing and hitting a security guard.

The following people were ticketed for alleged possession of a fictitious license:

Nicole D. Dugo, 18, of Dansville
Caroline A. Grande, 18, of Scottsville
Brittany M. Copeland, 19, of Warsaw
Ryan S. Cordis, 19, of Springville
Samuel E. Anderson, 20, of Kane, Pa.
Mackenzie C. Garby, 18, of Great Valley
Megan E. Arno, 20, of Clarence
Thomas C. Schena, 18, of Great Valley
Danielle N. Mueller, 19, of Rochester
Michael Gallagher, 19, of Hamburg

The following people were issued tickets for alleged possession of another person's license:

Anthony J. Laurienzo, 19, of Akron
Lydin N. Kallin, 19, of Orchard Park
Haley M. Waple, 20, of Lockport
Kayla B. Kreuder, 19, of Hamburg
Angela N. Creek, 19, of Cheektowaga
Alec E. Davis, 18, of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada – 2 counts
Molly K. Gorski, 19, of Akron
Chelsea D. Rzepka, 20, of Rochester
Patrick G. Stairs, 18, of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Le Roy police arrest two men - an alleged slasher and another accused of criminal sex acts

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy
Kenneth Smith

An investigation into an alleged assault which occurred in January 2013 resulted in the arrest Wednesday of a 29-year-old Le Roy native living in the City of Rochester. Kenneth G. Smith III, of 911 Lake Ave., was arrested by the Le Roy Police Department on July 23 and charged on two counts: criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, a Class-D felony; and first-degree assault, a Class-B felony.

It is alleged that on Jan. 10, 2013, Smith was involved in an altercation in an apartment on Main Street in the Village of Le Roy. Smith allegedly possessed a dangerous instrument in the form of a glass item with intent to use it against another (while having a prior criminal conviction). He then allegedly used it to strike the victim numerous times about the face causing permanent facial disfigurement/scarring. Smith was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision of the Genesee Justice.

Michael Stack

Michael J. Stack Jr., 37, of 7450 Randall Road, Le Roy was also arrested by the Le Roy Police Department on Wednesday. He is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, a Class-B felony.

It is alleged that yesterday, while in an apartment on East Main Street in the Village of Le Roy, Stack engaged in oral sexual contact with the victim while the victim was incapable of consent by the reason of being physically helpless and by forcible compulsion.

The charges stem from an allegation by the victim that the victim was sleeping and awoke to Stack kneeling over the victim having oral sexual contact with the victim.

Stack was jailed in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Pavilion teen charged with first-degree rape

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Pavilion

Colin J. McCullough, 17, of Telephone Road, Pavilion, is charged with first-degree rape following an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office that determined he allegedly had forcible sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old female acquaintance on June 6. He was arrested on the felony charge July 21 and arraigned in Town of Pavilion Court, then released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is to reappear in court on Aug. 12. Colin was arrested by Deputy Matthew Fleming, following the investigation by Sheriff's Investigator Timothy Weis and Deputy Frank Bordonaro.

Ryan James Sharpstene, 27, of Chili Rigi Center Road, Churchville, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property with a value exceeding $3,000 and unauthorized use of a vehicle, 1st. It is alleged that Sharpstene was in possession of a stolen vehicle out of South Byron on July 16 and was operating this vehicle following the alleged theft without the owner's consent. He was jailed on today in lieu of $10,000 cash bail. The case was investigated by Deputy Joseph Corona

Bart A. Towne, 45, of Highland Park, Batavia, was arrested July 22 on two misdemeanor drug-related charges following an investigation by the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprised of Sheriff's deputies and Batavia Police NET officers, plus the Le Roy Village PD. They were investigating the possession and transportation of heroin in and around Genesee County. Officers conducted a traffic stop in the Town of Byron, and Towne was allegedly found in possession of a quantity of heroin and a hypodermic needle. He was jailed on $2,500 cash bail and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, a Class A misdemeanor, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, also a Class A misdemeanor.

Jessica Jane Moscicki, 24, of Briarwood Terrace, Batavia, was arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, July 23, on an active bench warrant issued out of the Town of Batavia. The warrant stemmed from her failure to appear for sentencing on an original charge of petit larceny, which occurred Aug. 27, 2013, on Lewiston Road. She was jailed on no bail and is to reappear in court on July 29. The case was investigated by Deputy Joseph Graff, aasisted by Deputy Dana Richardson.

A 17-year-old and a 16-year-old, both from Albion, are charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing merchandise from Darien Lake Theme Park on July 20. The cases were investigated by Sheriff's Deputy Kevin McCarthy, assisted by Deputy Christopher Parker.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Community members come forward with donations to replace memorial lights destroyed at YWCA

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, YWCA

So far, the YWCA has at least 108 Malibu lights to replace the 36 that were destroyed by a vandal over the weekend.

The lights were part of a display called the Walkway of Hope, and were meant as a symbol against domestic violence. The lights were placed during a ceremony honoring Nicole Sheehan, who was murdered, allegedly by a domestic partner.

Sheehan's mother, Suzanne Ball, was at the YWCA on North Street on Wednesday evening to help reinstall some of the lights, along with Steven Foster of Adams Welding and Fabrication.

Stevens said Adams wanted to donate lights because giving hope to the victims of domestic violence is important.

"If one person walks up the walkway and saves a life and gets help, it's not in vain," Foster said.

Lights have also been donated by Mike and Norine Adams and John Peck, and at least one other man has called, according to Executive Director Jeanne Walton, to say he was bringing lights.

"It's been overwhelming," Walton said. "We've been shocked by the support we've gotten from so many people like Adams Welding and Fabrication, as well as a few others, that have just come forth and brought us lights to replace the ones that were destroyed."

All of the lights will be placed outside the Y, Walton said. That will send a powerful message, she said, to whomever destroyed the first set of lights.

Ball agreed.

"We're letting them know nobody is putting our lights out," Ball said.

Mike Adams called The Batavian after the story appeared and said he wasn't looking for any publicity of the plan (at that time) of his wife and he to make the donation, but he didn't mind being quoted calling the vandal a "coward."

"My only statement would be I guess is getting the point across, who's the coward out there who would do something like that, destroying a memorial for that young girl?" Adams said. "We're pretty upset about it."

So are a lot of other people.

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