A man convicted of two counts of first-degree child sex abuse and one count of second-degree child sex abuse is counting down the days until his release after three years of incarceration.
Storm U. Lang, now 21, was sexually involved with three different victims on multiple separate occasions in 2014 when he was 17 years old.
He subjected a 7-year-old to sexual contact in the Town of Alabama; a 12-year-old to sexual contact in the Town of Alabama; and a 5-year-old to sexual contact in the Town of Bethany.
The child molester was back in Genesee County Court on Monday for a Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) hearing to determine his threat level, which must be made within 30 days prior to his release.
Where he plans to live when he gets out was not discussed yesterday. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and will be under post-release supervision for a decade.
The state Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders evaluated this case and provided a risk-level recommendation to the court -- Level 3 -- which means there's a high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists.
There are also three designations that may be assigned to a Level 3 sex offender: sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender.
After lengthy discussions in both the morning and afternoon sessions, Judge Charles Zambito determined Lang warranted a Level 3 designation and deemed he met the legal definition of a sexually violent offender.
In making a decision, a point-scoring mechanism known as Total Risk Factor Score is considered; there may also be a request by the defense for a "downward departure" of the overall "presumptive score," which seeks to reduce the designation level as recommended or assigned -- an "override."
The District Attorney's Office agreed with the Board of Examiners' recommendation, which considers such factors as to whether there was use of force, weapons, alcohol or drugs, victim's age, number of victims, assault upon or injury to a victim, and relationship to the victim.
Public defense attorney Lisa Kroemer took issue with the points accrued in scoring her client's risk level -- a "presumptive score of 125"; her aim was to reduce the point score and persuade the judge that Lang is a Level 2 sex offender.
In part, her argument hung on a typo brought to her attention by the people earlier that morning that cited a victim instead of the plural victims for one of the risk factors.
"I'm arguing that the concept of double counting applies; I don't think you can pick and choose," Kroemer said.
First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini denied double counting, saying the score remains 125 even without the typo, because one victim -- a 12-year-old -- was asleep, and therefore defenseless, when the sexual conduct occurred.
Calling Kroemer's argument "baseless and unwarranted," Cianfrini further characterized her logic as "a distinction in search of a difference."
Zambito said no matter how you add it up, Lang earned a score of 125 by his counting, the Board of Examiner's counting, and that of the DA's Office.
The duration of Lang's admittedly ongoing behavior, though no physical violence was used, constitutes "a continuing course of sexual conduct," sexual contact -- over clothes in Lang's case, and the age of victims was factored, too.
Moreover, the prisoner admitted to authorities in three different instances that he also had sexually abused a 4-year-old victim when he was a juvenile, which was not included in the accounting made in his risk assessment, according to the judge.
"He is a sexually violent offender, based on his conviction -- a risk Level 3," Zambito said.
The Board of Examiners report says Lang has pedophilia and an anxiety disorder.
In addition, a state clinician specializing in sex offenders reported: Lang's likelihood of sexual recidivism is (determined to be) moderate to high; he has multiple and enduring high-risk personality traits; emotional disorders; impaired judgment; and impulsivity, and an inability to control himself."
"He's a Level 3 all day long, whether by points, by upward departure or override," Zambito said.
The defense attorney cited case law (People v. Burgos) that states that psychological/organic abnormality and decreased ability to control sexual behavior must be demonstrated before an upward override -- from a Level 2 (sought by the defense) to a Level 3 (sought by the people) -- can be granted.
The judge asked, "Doesn't the evaluation say that?"
No, Kroemer argued, it assessed his sexual recidivism risk as moderate to high, but she said if her client received treatment, the recidivism risk "should go down."
Kroemer also questioned the credentials of the clinician who performed the mental health assessment.
Cianfrini assured the court that Forensic Mental Health Counseling of Western New York and its clinicians were skilled specialists in the area of evaluating sexual offenders.
Whether or not treatment might help Lang was not considered.
The clerk of the court read Lang the law pertaining to his SORA responsibilities. He has to provide a new photo every year, register wherever he lives within 10 days, and provide authorities with his email address(es), online screen names, etc.
Lang has 30 days to appeal Monday's court decision.
Dressed in a white shirt, tan pants, brown lace-up boots, a belt, Lang was shackled, hands and ankles; accompanied by two state guards wearing uniforms with light-blue shirts. He is about 5'11" and 200 pounds, pale skinned, with heavy brows and chin-length brown hair.
He said nothing until he blurted out before leaving court that he gets out in "40 days."
There are currently 46 Level 3 sex offenders living in Genesee County, and a total of 186 convicted sex offenders at all levels reside here.