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Judge rejects plea deal in child sex abuse case, sets trial date

By Howard B. Owens
Wesley Thigpen

A man who admitted to child sex abuse in 2019 only to face new sex abuse charges two years later, came into Genesee County Court today expecting to be told he would spend at least another 10 years in prison, not, potentially, the rest of his life.

But a life sentence is now a real possibility after Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini rejected the guilty plea of Wesley N. Thigpen from last May, which came with a 13-year sentence cap as part of the plea deal.

Cianfrini decided to reject the previous plea agreement after receiving numerous letters from family members of a victim, and law enforcement expressing dismay at what seemed to them an inappropriate sentence.

The judge said she also reviewed the pre-sentence report by the Probation Department and found it "woefully inadequate." 

So she asked Assistant District Attorney Joseph Robinson if he had a new plea offer, and Robinson did.

Thigpen is being given time to consider an offer of a guilty plea to predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony, with a sentence of 10 years to life.

If he rejects the offer, his case will go to trial on Feb. 4.  He has until 11 a.m., Oct. 3 to decide.

In January, Thigpen was indicted by a Genesee County Grand Jury on four counts of predatory sexual assault against a child. 

The indictment accused him of engaging in oral sexual conduct with a person less than 13 years old while he was at least 18 years old or older between the dates of June 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2014. He is accused of engaging in two or more acts of sexual conduct with a child less than 13 years old over a period of time not less than three months.  He is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person less than 13 years old.

In September 2019, Thigpen entered a guilty plea to a child sex abuse charge with a four-year prison term agreement.  He entered the plea on an "Alford basis," meaning that he believed a jury would convict him based on the evidence that would be presented at the trial but not admitting that he actually committed the crime.  He accused the child witness of lying.

Cianfrini was first assistant district attorney at the time and prosecuted the case.

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