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Wyoming man who had sex with a minor given three-year prison term

By Howard B. Owens
Jan 13, 2010, 3:55pm

A man who admitted to raping a Genesee County girl will spend three years in state prison and 10 years on supervised probation, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled this afternoon.

Thomas J. Preedom, 21, of Wyoming County, admitted to rape 2nd in November, as well as attempted escape 2nd.

Reference in court to the case today, indicates that Preedom engaged in consensual sex with an underage girl and the girl had a baby who may or may not have been fathered by Preedom.

Following his arrest, Preedom tried to escape from the State Police barracks in Batavia, where he fought with Troopers and damaged state property.

Defense Attorny Jerry Ader argued that a past probation violation notwithstanding, Preedom was a viable candidate for a probation sentence in this case.

"Despite his prior behavior, he deserves a chance at probation even given this serious charge," Ader said. "He readily admitted to police and to the court what he did and acknowledged that his behavior was wrong, even though it was consensual, it was wrong under the law."

Ader said Preedom has been studying for a career, spending more time hitting the books in jail then he ever has in his life, and that he's grown through the process. He is not the same person, Ader said, that he was as a youth when he was convicted of selling marijuana, and violated probation (which Ader characterized as a legitimate misunderstanding with the Town of Batavia court over the terms of his probation).

For his part, Preedom asked Noonan for probation.

"I'm not a bad kid," Preedom said. "I made some bad decisions in my past and I request a second chance. I'm just asking for a second chance. I think I can succeed on probation. If this child is mine or not, I will take care of it."

Noonan said he couldn't look past his prior probation violation.

"I think by your conduct, you violated your chance at probation," Noonan said.

Doug Yeomans

So, the sex was consensual and he goes to prison while tax payers support him and his kid. Perfect, wonderful, brilliant, dandy! Appeal, appeal, appeal.

Get this guy out of prison so he can support himself and his "possible" child. A quick DNA test would rule him in or out as the baby daddy. When is the law going to stop being so blind? People don't need to go to jail "just because."

He admitted to having sex with the girl, the girl obviously said it was consensual and we're still burdened with the cost of another person in prison. He's burdened with the label of sex offender and has a record for the rest of his life.

This has to stop. Put real rapists into prison and stop imprisoning young people for making bad decisions.

One of two people I love dearly would have been labeled as a sex offender if he was charged under the statutory rape law in 1956. He wouldn't have been able to serve the 4 years in the Air force or go on to be respected by so many. He would have been ostracized and shunned by so many people and would never have been able to be the good father that he turned out to be.

The woman would have been kicked out of school (pregnant at 17 in her senior year of high school in 1956) if the school had found out and she would never have become the Registered Nurse or triage nurse that taught combat medics how to save a soldier's life. She never would've served in the Army Reserves for 23 years that she did. This woman probably helped many of you through a bad time in your life if you were ever admitted to Warsaw hospital.

Just because 2 young people make a mistake like this doesn't mean one of them should have a permanent mark on their life. This ruling needs to be overturned and dismissed.

Jan 14, 2010, 10:02am Permalink
Doug Yeomans

I know that judge Noonan sentenced him to prison because of violating probation on top of the statutory rape conviction but it sounds excessive. Three years in prison and 10 years supervision? This sounds way too harsh. Give the guy a chance and if he bombs out a third time, well then hold him fully accountable.

Maybe it's just my mood this morning but this seems so unjustified.

Jan 14, 2010, 10:09am Permalink
Sean Valdes

I'm surprised by the group's comments on this article. I thought the ruling was too lenient. Isn't there some saying about 90% of the crime is committed by 10% of the population - or something like that? I don't think it was the pot possession, or the sleeping with teenage girl thing, or knocking her up that pushed him into jail time. I would expect it was the attempted escape in the 2nd degree that sealed his fate. How about this - when the cops come for you, how about you act like a normal civilized person and man up to your mistakes. That action may have garnered him probation. Damaging the troopers property - not so much.

Jan 14, 2010, 9:01pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

If an adult (and Preedom is an adult) has sex with a minor (the girl is described as "underage"); the adult is guilty of statutory rape- regardless of consentual congress. I doubt that Noonan had much leeway in the charge and disposition. Since the defendant violently attempted to avoid being processed at the police barracks, any latitude for leniency and plea bargaining was eroded.

The concensus seems to deny the actual victim is in this case- the underage girl taken advantage of by an adult. The question of paternity is neither established nor an issue in mitigating rape. The comments seem to imply that there is some extenuating factor that deems this rape- pardonable. I'd be curious to know what that is?

Jan 15, 2010, 1:59am Permalink
Doug Yeomans

C.M., If a woman is 17 today and has sex with a 21 year old man, according to you he took advantage of her and under the law he is guilty of statutory rape and should be sent to prison. If she was 17 yesterday and is 18 today, what if she has sex with the 21 year old man today? Was she taken advantage of or does she magically become an adult at 18 and is no longer able to be taken advantage of? I'm glad my f*ther wasn't arrested in 1956. Lots of us probably are the result of "statutory" lust/love so when judging someone else, please think a little deeper.

I don't get why you think that an age number is a good way to determine the ability to consent. There's a difference between coercion, being taken advantage of and two people simply doing what people do. Just because someone is 21, that doesn't make them an adult. The law says you are but most of us know better.

Sean, the charge of resisting and attempted escape is often way overblown. Watch COPS sometime and you'll see a cop yelling "STOP RESISTING..STOP RESISTING" when the guy is clearly not resisting. He's usually got 2 or 3 officers on top of him and is trying to protect himself from cops trying to hurt him.

People do things they regret when under extreme duress such as when being placed under arrest or put into jail. Simply turning around to mouth off to a cop could land you a resisting charge and an allegation of attempted escape.

I'm all for criminals getting what they have coming but in this case, I'm questioning everything.

Jan 15, 2010, 11:06am Permalink
Doug Yeomans

One more thing, just because the law says it's rape, do you honestly think it should be CALLED rape? I clearly saw it called "consensual." I just don't believe she was taken advantage of. Was the guy in a position of authority and used it to gain a sexual favor? I don't see the new report saying so.

Jan 15, 2010, 11:08am Permalink
C. M. Barons

This was a discussion of Noonan's options in terms of disposition and sentencing. I'm only claiming that Not Guilty was probably not an option.

Jan 15, 2010, 3:14pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

Jailbait is a term that has existed in common parlance since at least the 30s. Now, I have heard, that in the case of speed limits if enough violations are recorded in a speed zone, a municapility is obligated to upgrade the speed limit. Maybe you're suggesting a similar shift in age of consent based on cultural acceptance of cradle robbing?

Jan 15, 2010, 3:24pm Permalink
Karen Miconi

Hey, 14 will get you 20. Whats even more sad, is that they had unprotected sex, and got this young girl pregnant at such a young age. Then he trys to escape? His own stupidity got him in this mess. I also think the parents of the girl, should have been keeping better track of her and her whereabouts, and people she was hanging out with. Just a thought or two, and an opinion.

Jan 15, 2010, 8:31pm Permalink

Just because you are 18 doesn't mean that you are an adult. This young man made some pretty poor, stupid, stupid choices. The problem is now he will be an ex con in three years. That alone will prevent him from a large number of careers, which will mean he will struggle at best.

The girl on the other hand, now has a child to care for at 17, which means her parents and all of us will care for it. It will also change the course of her life. Maybe for the good, maybe for the worse; who knows?

No one wins in this.

Unfortunately, we reap what we sow don't we? I wonder if either of these two kids were ever taught a single lesson in accountability? Probably not, but they are learning it now the hardest way possible.

The only person that I feel bad for in all of this is that baby.

Jan 15, 2010, 5:39pm Permalink

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