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September 19, 2019 - 2:47pm

Batavia man pleads guilty to sex abuse charge while calling statements against him a lie

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
wesleythigpenmug2019.jpg
      Wesley Thigpen

While coming to terms with entering a guilty plea to a sexual abuse charge, Wesley Thigpen told his attorney the statements attributed to a young girl were "(expletive) lies" after hearing the evidence the people would present against Thigpen if the case went to trial.

Thigpen was entering his plea on an Alford basis, which means that he pleads guilty without admitting the accusations against him are true.

The defendant himself told Judge Charles Zambito, "it's a strategic decision."

By accepting a plea deal, Thigpen guarantees he will spend no more than four years in prison, instead of more than a decade if he were convicted at trial of sexual abuse in the first degree, two counts of burglary, and criminal contempt in the first degree.

As part of the Alford plea process, First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini summarized the case that would be made against Thigpen if he turned down the plea offer and went to trial on the sexual abuse charge.

According to Cianfrini, Thigpen was alone with a girl less than 13 years old in her room when he engaged in a series of sexually related actions, including but not limited to showing her pictures on his phone of body parts.

Cianfrini said in a recorded interview later, Thigpen admitted that he had been alone with the girl and that she may have somehow gotten access to his mobile phone.

Throughout the legal process of this case, Thigpen has denied the sexual abuse allegations while admitting to the criminal contempt charge.

Today, Thigpen did plead guilty to criminal contempt after Zambito recited the specific actions of Thigpen's that led to the charge. Thigpen slapped food out of the hands of a person who was the subject of an order of protection and raised a fist as if threatening to hit that person.

Dressed in jail orange, Thigpen wasn't afraid to speak up for himself during the proceedings. Bright and articulate, Thigpen made it clear why he was pleading guilty and on key points asked Zambito to clarify the law and the terms of the deal.

He conferred more than once with his attorney Mark Lewis about the charges and the plea deal, most of the time speaking in hushed tones. But after Cianfrini recited the evidence against him, he spoke with Lewis in a more agitated manner, raising his voice slightly at one point to call the statements against him a lie.

At that point, Zambito explained very clearly that he understood that Thigpen wasn't admitting to the allegations but pleading guilty because he accepted the fact he was at substantial risk of being found guilty at trial and facing a potentially harsher prison term.

Thigpen also spoke up for himself when it came time to discuss his bail status while awaiting sentencing. He argued for lower bail because he has several financial matters to clear up, including taking care of penalities for use of his 401(K) during these proceedings to support his family, as well as collecting his final paycheck from his former employer.

Lewis said before his arrest, Thigpen, a lifelong Batavia resident, worked for five years at a major corporation in Genesee County.

Despite all this, Zambito kept his bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond while he awaits sentencing.

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