The case of a 29-year-old man's sexual affair with a 16-year-old Genesee County girl turned a lot today on speculation about just how hurt the girl was by the affair.
Daniel Brown is from Ontario County and has already been sentenced to two years in state prison on his conviction of crimes stemming from acts between him and the girl in that county and this morning's hearing was to determine if he should get an additional year in prison for crimes committed locally.
He pled guilty in December to criminal sexual act 3rd.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell argued that Brown deserved the maximum available sentence available under the plea deal, three years in prison to be served concurrently with his Ontario County sentence, notwithstanding a statement by the victim's mother in a letter to court stating that her daughter suffered nothing more than a broken heart from the affair.
Finnell said that even by his own admission, Brown knows he hurt the girl in ways that will have ramifications for her later in life.
"He acknowledged in his letter to the court that he knows her brain is still developing and that this can affect her later in life," Finnell said. "He knew that."
According to Finnell, Brown struck up a friendship with the girl while she was still 15 and would meet with her, text with her and even showed up at school at least once to watch one of her school activities and when questioned about his presence, he said he was at the school that day to interview for a teaching job, which, Finnell said, was a lie.
Finnell said the physical affair started as shortly after the girl turned 16 and that Brown knew what he was doing all along both legally and morally.
According to Finnell, Brown would pick up the girl at school and never drive far from the school so they could get her back to the school quickly if her mother showed up, ostensibly to help hide the affair.
The maximum sentence was appropriate, Finnell said, because the affair started in Genesee County and Brown continued to persue the girl in Genesee County, even if they also spent time together in Ontario County.
Public Defender Jerry Ader argued that his client shouldn't get any additional prison time because he's already received sufficient punishment in Ontario County, which besides the two-year sentence, includes 10 years on parole and 30 years on the sex offender registry.
Both Finnell and Ader referred to a claim by Brown, who has held steady jobs since his military service and has no criminal record, that he succumbed to temptation after being dumped by his fiancé. Ader said that isn't an excuse, but just like any hardship faced by defendants, it is a circumstance worthy of the court's consideration.
Ader took issue with Finnell's characterization of the girl's eventual mental state, that she will suffer down the road. Ader said without a statement from the girl, and no way of predicting the future, there is no way to judge how the affair will affect the girl in the future.
Judge Charles Zambito said he felt sorry for Brown's personal difficulty, but it wasn't a mitigating circumstance in his mind, before handing down a three-year sentence.
"This was all about you getting what you wanted and what you thought you needed," Zambito said. "You never said you cared for her or even expressed that you cared for her. This looks like you used her for your own purposes."