Former Waterloo Justice to be sentenced Tuesday

Waterloo Village Judge Roger Barto will be sentenced on his convictions, 3 felonies and 1 misdemeanor, on Tuesday at 2:00 PM, in the Seneca County Courthouse on W. Williams Street in Waterloo.The below article is from a press release by the Seneca County District Attorney’s office following Barto’s conviction…On Friday afternoon, August 7, 2015, a jury in the Seneca County Court found defendant Roger Barto guilty of four counts, consisting of insurance fraud in the third degree (class D felony), defrauding the government (class E felony), falsifying business records in the first degree (class E felony), and falsely reporting an incident in the third degree (class A misdemeanor).The convictions stem from an incident on the evening of Saturday, August 31, 2013, when Barto, a Waterloo Village Justice, called 911 and asked the dispatcher to send an officer to his Court. He did not tell the dispatcher that he was assaulted or needed medical help. A minute or two later, Barto told the two responding police officers that he had been jumped, strangled, and hit over the head as he left the Waterloo Municipal Building. The allegations made international news at the time.Barto was taken by ambulance to Geneva General Hospital, where he had no external injuries, and a few hours later was transferred, due to potential internal injuries, to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester where he spent nine days. A few days after the alleged incident, Barto told the police that he was strangled for 30 seconds with a small-diameter ligature device to the point of unconsciousness and then had a toilet tank lid smashed on top of his head with such force that it shattered. Broken toilet tank lid pieces were observed lying around Barto when the police arrived at the scene on August 31, 2013.About two weeks after the alleged assault, Barto stopped cooperating with the police investigation. Lead officers on the investigation were Waterloo Police Officer James Chechak and State Police BCI Inv. George Grbic.In December 2013, the Waterloo Police Department issued a press release, stating that the police investigation determined that there was no credible evidence to substantiate Barto’s assault claim. Despite its own Police Department’s determination, the Waterloo Village Board subsequently reappointed Barto to another one-year term as Acting Village Justice and, additionally, appointed Barto to a new position, sexton at the village-owned cemetery.In June 2014, a Seneca County Grand Jury indicted Barto on nine counts. Seven counts were related to the alleged incident of August 31, 2013. Two counts alleged that Barto, as cemetery sexton, stole gasoline from the Village in April 2014.The two-week jury trial commenced on Monday, July 27, 2015. Prosecuting the case was Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch. Representing Barto during the trial was Rochester attorney Gary Muldoon and co-counsel Margaret Reston. Porsch admitted 43 exhibits and called 25 witnesses, including five physicians and two nurses, who all testified that Barto did not sustain any external or internal injuries from strangulation, a strike to the head, or any other type of assault.The admitted exhibits included the 28 x-rays, CAT scans and MRIs that were taken on every part of Barto’s body, which were all negative for any evidence of recent injury. The medical evidence showed that during the nine days of hospitalization, Barto was treated for only gout pain in his extremities and chronic pain in his lower back, along with constipation, urinary retention and high blood pressure. Barto’s medical bills from various medical providers from August 31, 2013 through June 2014, which totaled $41,477, were paid by Seneca County, which administers the workers’ compensation program for the Village of Waterloo.Barto was convicted on all four counts that were submitted to the jury. On the top count, the maximum sentence is 2 1/3 to 7 years. The minimum sentence could be probation. The Court scheduled sentencing for Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.After the jury rendered its verdict and was discharged, Porsch requested that Barto be remanded to the county jail to await sentencing. Muldoon asked that Barto’s release be continued and indicated that Barto will try to come up with the $41,700 he owes Seneca County by sentencing.

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