Charity rider given eight years in prison for sexual abuse
Calling it a "terrible, terrible crime against little girls," Genesee County Court Judge Robert C. Noonan today sentenced one-time community fundraiser Gary Draper to two four-year consecutive state prison terms for sexually abusing three Batavia girls.
Draper previously pled guilty to two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree after being charged in July with three counts of sexual abuse, 1st, five counts of criminal sexual act, 1st, and two counts of sexual abuse, 2nd.
The crimes were committed between August 2008 and May 2009.
The mother of one of the victims spoke in court about how Draper took advantage of his friendship with the girls and how her daughter is now afraid of men.
"She lost all her trust and doesn’t understand why this happened to her," the mother said. "I want to let her know how brave she is to come forward for herself and her friends. She needs some closure. She needs to know that justice will be served for her."
Draper made a short statement saying, "I'd like to to say I didn’t intent that to happen and I don’t know why it happened and I can assure you it won't happen again. I'm very sorry."
Noonan said he didn't believe it wouldn't happen again.
"One thing that comes across loud and clear is that Mr. Draper does not understand the seriousness of the crimes he’s committed," Noonan said. "If anything, it punctuates it more strongly for him to stand here before me today and say he didn't mean this to happen. There is no other interpretation of the conduct of Mr. Draper than he intend it to happen for his own sexual gratification. And for that, the world deserves protection."
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman asked for the maximum sentence, two consecutive seven-year terms.
Public defender Jerry Ader took issue with a Probation Department report that declined to support a probation-based sentence because Draper wouldn't submit to a full interview with probation officers. Ader said Draper gave a full interview to a qualified sexual behavior specialist and that Ader told Draper not to talk with probation, which probation acknowledged in its own report.
Ader asked for Draper to be released on probation, in part because of Draper's previous community work and his lack of any prior criminal record.
"He deserves a community sentence and I think he can succeed on a community sentence," Ader said.
Draper was known far and wide for his efforts to raise money for the American Diabetes Association, riding a three-wheel bike all over Genesee County and beyond to collect donations.
Over about a 15-year period, Draper raised more than $100,000 for ADA.
On Thanksgiving 2009, Draper's bike was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Center Street, and Draper suffered serious head and hip injuries. His bike was destroyed in the accident and later replaced by a group of local business leaders.
With eight years in prison and 10 years of supervised release after his terms, Noonan said that perhaps the 57-year-old Draper will be at an age that he's no longer a threat to the community.