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September 10, 2019 - 3:25pm

Man charged with sex abuse, burglary, gets slight bail reduction, time to consider plea offer

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

A 38-year-old Batavia man who is facing a sexual abuse charge along with two criminal-contempt-related burglary charges has a pending plea offer that would cap his prison term at four years, but Judge Charles Zambito would not bring his bail down as much he requested while he considers the plea offer.

Wesley, who was most recently a resident of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with: sexual abuse in the first degree, stemming from an incident reported in May; two counts of burglary, 2nd; a count of criminal contempt, 2nd; and a count of criminal contempt 1st; as well as criminal mischief, 4th.

Under terms of the plea offer outlined by First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini, Thigpen would agree to a guilty plea on the sexual abuse charge and a criminal contempt charge. He would also admit to being a second-time felony offender.

Besides a shorter prison term, all of the other charges against him, including pending charges in Batavia and Oakfield, would be dropped.

He was in court today to waive a grand jury presentation on the burglary charges because if he was indicted, the mandatory prison terms would probit the district attorney's office from offering a four-year term cap. Also, the judge would be prohibited from a sentence, upon conviction, of anything less than five to 15 years in prison.

Cianfrini said her office was willing to give Thigpen more time to consider the plea offer but in order to get that time, he needed today to waive a grand jury presentation, which he did.

Under the terms of the deal, Thigpen would be able to make the guilty plea on an Alford basis, which means he pleads guilty without admitting to the facts of the underlying charges. 

When Thigpen came into court, he was being held in jail on $15,000 bail, or $30,000 bond.

His attorney, Mark Lewis, said despite his client's criminal history, he's never failed to show up for a court appearance and turned himself in on these pending charges so bail should be reduced to $2,500, the amount it was on his initial arrest on the sexual abuse charge.

Cianfrini objected to reducing the bail because of the significant prison time associated with the burglary charges, as well as the allegation of new crimes while out on bail previously, and the allegations of criminal contempt indicated, she said, that Thigpen has a problem following court orders.

"He is a considerable flight risk," Cianfrini said.

It's unusual for criminal defendants to speak on their own behalf at bail review hearings, but Thigpen asked to speak and Zambito permitted him to address the court.

"I feel the bail amount is excessive," Thigpen said.

Thigpen said he has maintained his innocence since his arrest and is considering the plea deal only because it was laid out for him in considerable detail what the consequences are if he were convicted by a jury of the all the charges against him. 

"I have no reason to run," Thigpen said. "I've shown up in court over and over again. I've shown I'll show up. I'm not a flight risk."

Zambito expressed concern that when Thigpen was out on bail on the sex abuse charges he allegedly committed other crimes, but that he did deserve some consideration for his court appearance record. He set bail at $10,000 or $20,000 bond.

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