Jury finds Cato man guilty of sexually abusing three girls

District Attorney Jon E. Budelmann announced that the Cayuga County DA’s Office successfully prosecuted a Cato man.

William H. Lewis, 30, of Cato, was convicted of two counts of Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child (class “A-II” felonies punishable by up to twenty-five years to life each), one count of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree (class “D” violent felony, up to seven years determinate prison followed by post-release supervision of up to ten years) and three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (class “A” misdemeanors, up to one year in jail).

The conviction followed a five day jury trial in Cayuga County Court. The court has adjourned the sentencing until December 21, 2017. With three separate victims Lewis faces a maximum sentence of up to 57 years to life in prison.

Although a portion of the defendant’s confession regarding his abuse of all three of the children while residing out of County in Pulaski was excluded from the confession, the testimony at the trial established that during the time period between November 2014 and May 2015, he sexually abused three children at his mother’s residence in the Town of Victory.

Testimony established that between 11/2014 and 5/2015 the defendant subjected a ten to eleven year old girl to sexual contact when he touched her vagina with his penis. Testimony at trial also established that over the period from November 2014 through March 2017, this defendant sexually abused the two youngest victim at three different locations in the County of Cayuga.

The defendant was convicted of a course of sexual conduct against two different children who were between the ages of eight and eleven and six and nine during this time period.

Tully Rinckey appeared as local counsel for the defendant. Assistant District Attorney Heather De Stefano presented testimony from five witnesses including the three child victims.

The jury also viewed the defendant’s video recorded confession to many of the crimes he was convicted of committing against these three small children, obtained by Det. Sgt. Frederick Cornelius of the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department.

District Attorney Budelmann said of the conviction, “I commend these children for their bravery in confronting their abuser. These young children testified so well and the jury obviously found them to be absolutely credible.”

He continued, “I commend ADA Heather De Stefano for her hard work in securing this defendant’s conviction at trial. We are obviously pleased by the jury’s verdict, which was completely in line with the facts and evidence they heard.”

Budelmann added, “This defendant demonstrated no concern for these children and displayed absolutely no empathy during the trial, even remarking on the jail phone during the trial that he was bored. His conviction should send a loud and clear message that those who sexually abuse children will be held accountable for their actions. At the time of sentencing, the People will be asking the court to impose the maximum permissible prison term of fifty-seven (57) years to Life in prison.”

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