Teen sentenced to state prison for criminal sex act

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2019 at 11:25 am

ALBION – An Albion teen-ager was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison today for criminal sex act in the first degree.

The boy was 16 last year when he forced a 10-year-old girl to give him oral sex. Judge Charles Zambito said the 10-year-old girl was terrified during the ordeal.

The boy was granted youthful offender status. His record is sealed and his name shouldn’t be published in the news.

The boy has been in the Orleans County Jail for about a year. Joanne Best, the public defender, asked that the boy be released and be allowed to continue treatment and his education.

“He is very remorseful,” Best told the judge. “He wishes he made a different choice.”

But Judge Zambito said he wants the teen to spend more time incarcerated and receive help in prison.

“I want you to be supervised for as long as possible,” the judge said.

Best, the public defender, said a younger boy pressured the Albion teen into the crime. That boy is 15 and his case is being handled in Family Court.

“He wishes he stood up to the other young man,” Best said about the teen sentenced today.

She asked that the teen not go to state prison, where he will likely soon be eligible for parole.

“I don’t think there is any benefit of putting someone of his age in the state corrections system,” Best said.

The teen would like to pursue a career in the military. He apologized to the victim and her family in court today.

District Attorney Joe Cardone requested the state prison sentence due to the teen’s “extremely serious and alarming conduct.”

Judge Zambito also issued an order of protection for the victim of the crime until 2031.

In other cases today:

• A former Albion man who has spent about 2 years in state prison on rape charges was re-sentenced and his post-release supervision was reduced from 10 years to 3 years.

Charles Ledger, 30, was sentenced on Jan. 17, 2017 on rape charges against two underage girls. He maintained his innocence throughout court proceedings and entered an Alford plea, where he pleaded guilty but maintained his innocence to avoid more serious charges.

In reviewing the court transcripts in the case, the Legal Aid Bureau in Buffalo discovered that Ledger was not advised when he pleaded guilty that he would face 10 years of post-release supervision.

James Punch, who is now retired as county court judge, didn’t advise Ledger that the 10 years of post-release supervision would possibly be part of the sentence.

Rather than possibly go to another trial, District Attorney Joe Cardone agreed to dismiss the rape charges against one of the victims. Ledger also agreed to the sentence today, which remains at 3 years of state prison.

The only change is the post-release supervision is reduced by seven years. Ledger also is expected to be on the sex offender registry as a level 2 offender.

• A former Medina resident was praised for completing a diversion program, where she received treatment for drug addiction over two years.

Maria Conte, 30, had a more serious charge of grand larceny dismissed. She instead was sentenced to petit larceny, and will avoid going to jail. Judge Zambito sentenced her to three years of probation.

Conte, now a Rochester resident, thanked the court for the opportunity to be in the diversion program.

Her attorney, Public Defender Joanne Best, asked that Conte be given a conditional discharge with no probation. But Zambito declined that request.

“You’ve done a very good job,” Judge Zambito told Conte. “Substance abuse is a difficult problem to overcome. You didn’t do it by yourself. You had some help. We want to assure you have some help to keep you going.”