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Former Holley teacher pleads guilty to child pornography

Staff Reports Posted 20 January 2017 at 5:28 pm

ROCHESTER – A former Holley teacher pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and could face up to 10 years in prison.

Steven Choi, 41, of Rochester pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. He was an English teacher at Holley but no longer works for the district.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force identified the defendant accessing child pornography online. A forensic examination of that computer recovered sexually explicit photographs of prepubescent girls, according to a news release from Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 15, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. before Judge Wolford.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in- Charge Adam S. Cohen. The task force includes the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, and the Greece Police Department.

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3 years in prison for man accused of sex crimes against 2 girls

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2017 at 5:25 pm

ALBION – A former Albion resident today was sentenced to three years in state prison, the maximum under a plea deal, after he faced multiple rape charges.

Charles Ledger, 28, has maintained his innocence throughout court proceedings. He entered an Alford plea, where he pleaded guilty but maintains his innocence to avoid more serious charges.

Ledger was living on Lydun Drive Extension in Albion when he allegedly committed the crimes between August 2011 and March 2015, the District Attorney’s Office reported.

He was charged with one count of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, two counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree, and 14 counts of rape in the third degree.

He was arrested in Nebraska on July 20, 2015 and extradited to Orleans County. He has been in the county jail since late July 2015.

Ledger’s attorney Brian Degnan said if the case had gone to trial he would have made the case that Ledger was innocent. Degnan asked for probation for Ledger or a short jail sentence, given that he has already been in the county jail for nearly 18 months and that Ledger has steadfastly insisted he was innocent.

Susan Howard, the assistant district attorney, asked for the maximum sentence of 3 years as part of a plea deal.

“Their future has been altered forever,” she said about the two alleged victims of the crime.

County Court Judge James Punch gave Ledger the maximum, issued orders of protection for the two girls, imposed a $1,000 sex offender fee and said Ledger would have 10 years of post-release supervision when he is out of prison.

In other cases:

• Bail was set at $200,000 for a Medina man accused of tampering with evidence, a Class E felony.

Victor Orr, 38, of South Main Street was arrested on Dec. 9 after he allegedly disposed of a cardboard box with controlled substances in a nearby creek. He also allegedly removed controlled substances (drugs) from a safe and put them in the Erie Canal, according to Susan Howard, the assistant district attorney.

Orr hasn’t been indicted yet. But because he has prior felonies his bail couldn’t be set in a lower court. The bail hearing was moved to County Court and Judge Punch set bail at $200,000. He said Orr has three prior felonies.

Orr’s attorney Michael Guarino asked for “reasonable bail.” He said Orr turned himself in “when he found out about these charges.”

• A Rochester man who appeared in court on Jan. 9 was fully arraigned today with his attorney. The arraignment was pushed back a week so Steven C. Jones, 47, of Rochester could have counsel that wasn’t in conflict with the public defender’s office.

Jones was arrested in November, the first person to be charged in Orleans County for selling medical marijuana. Jones was allegedly selling marijuana in both liquid and pill form, as well as prescription painkillers.

He faces an 18-count indictment including five counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, two counts of CSCS in the fourth degree, four counts of CSCS in the fifth. He also facing criminal possession charges including four counts in the third degree, three counts in the fifth degree.

The judge set bail at $100,000.

“He has an extensive criminal history and this is an extensive criminal indictment,” Punch said during arraignment.

• The judge increased bail for a Kent man who missed a previous court appearance and was recently arrested on a bench warrant.

Daniel Flanagan, 31, of Bills Road had his bail increased from $15,000 to $45,000. He faces charges of DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after being stopped Dec. 7, 2013 on East State Street in Albion.

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Gaines man, 66, facing weapons charge will go to trial

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 January 2017 at 8:06 am

ALBION – A Gaines man facing charges of conspiracy in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree will go to trial.

John P. Klotzbach, 66, of Ridge Road declined to consider any plea offers Monday in Orleans County Court.

“This is going to trial, sir,” Klotzbach told Judge James Punch.

Klotzbach was charged on May 20 following an investigation by the Task Force, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Klotzbach allegedly attempted to purchase a shotgun and refused to complete the required ATF form 4473 for the federal background check and was subsequently denied the purchase.

Several days later, a female acquaintance allegedly went into the gun store and wanted to purchase the same gun that Klotzbach attempted to buy. The gun store owner became suspicious when he noticed the woman was riding in the same vehicle as Klotzbach, as well as attempting to purchase the same gun that Klotzbach wanted. The store owner then contacted law enforcement authorities.

Klotzbach has been free on $10,000 bail.

His attorney, Dominic Saraceno, told Judge Punch that Klotzbach is optimistic about a trial with a new president soon to take office.

“He asked me to postpone this until after Mr. Trump takes office,” Saraceno told Judge Punch. “He believes that will change the dynamic.”

Klotzbach has had a mental health evaluation and has been found competent, Punch said.

In other cases:

• A Medina resident pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in the second degree and will face a maximum of six months in jail as part of a plea agreement.

Frank Ranallo Jr., 46, of Chestnut Street in Medina admitted to entering a house on Salt Words Road on June 24 without permission. He will be sentenced on Jan. 23.

• A Holley resident was arraigned on new charges of rape. Anthony C. Roe, 21, in March was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation after he pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old girl while he was 20.

Roe now is accused by another teen-age girl of having sex between Aug. 15, and Sept. 15, 2015. Roe allegedly had sex with that girl after he had been arrested previously.

He was arraigned on Monday for one count of second-degree rape and two counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree. Judge Punch set bail at $50,000.

Roe will not face charges for violating probation because the new charges are for alleged violations that occurred before Roe was convicted of the first rape charges, Punch said.

Steven C. Jones, 47, of Rochester was indicted on numerous drug charges. He was arrested in November, the first person to be charged in Orleans County for selling medical marijuana. Jones was allegedly selling marijuana in both liquid and pill form, as well as prescription painkillers.

He was indicted on Monday by the grand jury for four counts each of third-degree sale and possession of a controlled substance, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sale sale, one count of fourth-degree criminal possession, three counts of fifth-degree criminal sale and four counts of fifth-degree criminal possession.

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2 avoid jail for first-time drug crimes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 January 2017 at 7:42 am

ALBION – Two people who pleaded guilty to drug crimes won’t be going to jail, but instead will be on probation.

County Court Judge James Punch had stern warnings for both on Monday. If they test positive for a drug while on probation, they would likely be put in jail.

Betty Russell, 57, of Medina was sentenced to four years on probation. She pleaded guilty on Oct. 3 to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, which normally carries a maximum sentence of 1 ½ to 3 years in prison.

Russell is battling health problems and is on disability. She has a “very limited criminal history” with her last misdemeanor from 41 years ago, her attorney Mark Lewis told Punch.

Russell in a previous court appearance admitted to selling hydrocodone and acetaminophen pills on Jan. 29, 2016.

“This is an aberration,” Punch said during sentencing on Monday. “It’s not something you would normally do but you did it and there has to be some consequences.”

Russell also was ordered to pay $89 in restitution to the Orleans County Major Felony Crimes Task Force. She also had her driving privileges suspended for six months.

Maja L. Pugh, 19, of Lockport was sentenced to three years probation for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. She admitted to using meth at an Albion apartment on April 19.

Pugh is a first-time offender who didn’t have a role in the meth manufacturing, Punch said.

She apologized for the crime in court on Monday.

Punch told Pugh to stay away from drugs.

“It will suck the soul right out of you and destroy you,” Punch said.

The judge also sentenced her to 40 hours of community service and suspended her driving privileges for six months. He said she will be tested regularly while on probation and if there is a positive test she will face a year in jail.

“I can’t stop you from using but here is my therapy for you. If you use, you will go to jail for a year,” Punch said.

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2 are sentenced at County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 January 2017 at 9:17 am

Judge sets Feb. 7 as trial start for man facing assault charge

ALBION – Two people were sentenced in Orleans County Court on Monday.

Jarred Hodgins, 28, of South Townline Road in Lyndonville was sentenced to 1 ½ years in state prison plus 2 years of post-release supervision.

Hodgins in a previous court appearance admitted to having cocaine and selling it on March 16 in Ridgeway. Hodgins pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, which carries a maximum sentence for 4 years in state prison.

Hodgins has struggled with substance abuse issues for many years, his attorney Jon Ross Wilson told County Court Judge James Punch.

Hodgins has been in prison before. His attorney asked for “shock incarceration.”

Punch said he would recommend the state Department of Correctional Services provide shock incarceration where Hodgins would receive treatment for drug addiction.

Heather Pratt, 32, of Countyline Road in Kendall was sentenced to four months of weekends in jail plus 5 years of Probation for felony driving while intoxicated.

She was arrested for DWI in Kendall on Sept. 11, 2016, her third DWI. She registered a 0.16 Blood Alcohol Content.

Judge Punch also revoked her license for one year.

In another case, a Medina teen was offered a plea deal for an alleged assault on Nov. 6.

Lucas Porter, 17, was charged with first-degree assault, which could carry a maximum of 25 years in state prison.

Porter allegedly stabbed a Buffalo man at a house party in Ridgeway, puncturing his lung and just missing his heart, District Attorney Joe Cardone said.

The DA told Judge Punch there is no argument for self defense for Porter in the case.

Cardone offered a plea deal where Porter could plead guilty to second-degree assault, which carries a maximum of seven years in prison. Porter and his attorney were given a couple weeks to consider the offer from the DA.

In another case, the judge set 1 p.m. on Feb. 7 as the start of trial against Michael Thompson, 49, of Medina.

Thompson was out of jail and awaiting sentencing for a drug crime when he was arrested on Sept. 7 after allegedly getting in an altercation with another person and stabbing that person, causing non-life-threatening injuries.

Thompson faces charges of second-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and second-degree menacing.

He has since been sentenced to two years in state prison for the drug charge – criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The latest charges against Thompson are being prosecuted separately from the drug charge.

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Bail set at $500K for Medina man accused of Dec. 30 assault

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 January 2017 at 5:57 pm

ALBION – A Medina man with a lengthy criminal record had bail set at $500,000 cash or bond today by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch.

Robert A. Beedham Sr., 54, faces first-degree assault charges after he allegedly used a knife to seriously injure a person on Dec. 30 in Medina.

Beedham, a resident of 12 East Center St., has three prior felonies and numerous misdemeanors, District Attorney Joe Cardone told Judge Punch today.

The judge listed off some of the prior crimes – assault, menacing, criminal contempt, burglaries, larcenies, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, and injuring a person while confined in a correctional facility.

“I am asking for extremely high bail,” Cardone told Punch during the bail application hearing. Beedham had already been arraigned in Ridgeway Town Court but Punch set the bail.

Beedham’s attorney Nathan Pace said Beedham has always made his court appearances in the past. Pace asked for “reasonable bail.”

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Kendall man now faces charges for child pornography

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 December 2016 at 4:11 pm
David P. Perry Sr.

David P. Perry Sr.

ALBION – A Kendall man sentenced to 4 years in state prison last week now faces child pornography charges that could keep him in prison even longer.

David P. Perry Sr., 68, of Norway Road was arraigned this afternoon in Orleans County Court on 21 counts of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child.

Judge James Punch set bail for Perry at $300,000 cash or bond.

Perry was sentenced last Tuesday to sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of five girls ranging in age from 13 to 15.

Perry allegedly got children drunk and then performed sex acts on them.

“I accept responsibility and I’m sorry for everything that happened,” Perry said during his sentencing last week.

Perry allegedly forced juvenile victims to smoke marijuana and drink alcoholic wine and vodka over several months in 2015. At times, the victims would reportedly consume these substances to the point of becoming impaired and intoxicated.

In May he was arrested for possession of an obscene sexual performance by a child less than 16 years old.

Approximately 15,000 images of suspected child pornography were found on Perry’s devices that were submitted for analysis. Many of the images found were children between the ages of 2 and 9 years of age, Undersheriff Chris Bourke said when Perry was charged in May.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said the victims in the child pornography are not the same victims who were intoxicated with Perry in the other crime.

Nathan Pace is the assigned counsel for Perry. Pace entered a not guilty plea on Perry’s behalf during this afternoon’s arraignment.

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Kendall man, 67, sentenced to 4 years in state prison for sex crimes against children

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2016 at 12:36 pm

ALBION – A Kendall man who allegedly got children drunk and then performed sex acts on them was sentenced to a maximum four years in state prison.

David P. Perry Sr., 67, of Norway Road was called a “child molester” by County Court Judge James Punch.

Perry faced a 1 ½ to 4 year sentence in prison. The judge gave Perry the maximum, saying he is “a serious danger to society.”

Perry had pled guilty previously to sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of five girls ranging in age from 13 to 15.

“I accept responsibility and I’m sorry for everything that happened,” Perry, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, said at sentencing today.

Perry allegedly forced juvenile victims to smoke marijuana and drink alcoholic wine and vodka over several months in 2015. At times, the victims would reportedly consume these substances to the point of becoming impaired and intoxicated, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office reported when he was arrested.

He was charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child because Perry would allegedly made five girls undress, then he would perform various criminal sexual acts and sexual abuse, according to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

It is also alleged that Perry would force the victims to pose for pictures while undressed or partially dressed.

Perry also was arrested and charged with 15 counts of possession of an obscene sexual performance by a child less than 16 years old.

Approximately 15,000 images of suspected child pornography were found on Perry’s devices that were submitted for analysis. Many of the images found were children between the ages of 2 and 9 years of age, Undersheriff Chris Bourke said when Perry was charged in May.

Those charges against Perry are still pending.

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Medina teen arraigned on charges of first-degree assault

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2016 at 12:27 pm

ALBION – A Medina teen who allegedly stabbed a Buffalo man on Nov. 6 at a party, nearly causing his death, was arraigned in Orleans County today.

Lucas Porter, 17, entered a not guilty plea to two counts of first-degree assault, one count of criminal mischief in the third degree, one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and violation of probation.

He had been free on $10,000 bail after being arraigned in Ridgeway Town Court last month. But County Court Judge James Punch increased the bail today to $25,000.

“This is a profoundly serious charge,” Punch said today during Porter’s arraignment.

The alleged incident occurred at a party in the early morning hours on Nov. 6 at a private residence on Mill Road in Ridgeway. The victim tried to gain entry to the party along with some friends. A fight then broke out involving several people, Undersheriff Chris Bourke said in a news release on Nov. 7.

The victim was initially treated at Medina Hospital for a stab wound to the chest and then was transported by Mercy Flight to the Erie County Medical Center.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said today the victim suffered a punctured lung and likely wouldn’t have survived without medical attention.

Porter also allegedly stabbed a 2013 Honda car with a large knife as friends of the victim were attempting to leave the scene and transport the victim to the hospital, Bourke said.

Porter has been on probation after being charged with a burglary in Albion in March 2015.

He was a star of Medina’s varsity football team this past season, earning a spot on the annual All-Western New York football squad.

The team was undefeated in its division during the regular season. Porter had a team leading 6 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 55 tackles.

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3 plead guilty to felonies in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 December 2016 at 5:40 pm

ALBION – Three people pled guilty to felony crimes in Orleans County today and could be sentenced to state prison.

A Medina man admitted to selling cocaine in Albion on Feb. 16, 2016 at the Save-A-Lot parking lot.

Eddie Joe Nichols, 61, of West Avenue pled guilty in County Court to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. The charge normally carries a maximum of 1 ½ to 8 years in state prison.

As part of a plea deal, Nichols will face no more than 4 years in state prison when he is sentenced on March 6.

The judge revoked Nichols bail, which had been set at $250,000.

• Adam Gallo, 31, of Eagle Harbor Road in Albion admitted to selling “wax,” a highly potent form of concentrated marijuana on Aug. 9.

He pled guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and could face up to 2 ½ years in prison when he is sentenced. He has no prior criminal record.

• Marcie Conlon, 43, of Holley pled guilty to attempted forgery in the second degree.

She was working as nurse manager in the wellness center of the Iroquois Job Corps Center in Shelby on April 2, 2015 when she said she falsely completed a physician’s sheet, writing a prescription for a student, and then using the Ativan, a prescription for anxiety, for herself.

Conlon is a second felony offender. She will face a minimum sentence of 1 ½ to 3 years and a maximum of 2 to 4 years when she is sentenced on March 6.

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