By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
FONDA -- An Amsterdam man convicted of sexually abusing two young children and endangering two more was sentenced to 40 years in state prison Thursday.
A Montgomery County jury in March found Pedro "Alex" Ressy guilty of all charges in a six-count indictment, that included two felony counts of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
In addition to prison time, county Judge Felix Catena additionally issued four orders of protection that won't expire until 2060, ordered 20 years of post-release supervision, and Ressy will be required to report with the state sex offender registry.
Assistant District Attorney Sarah Leszczynski said the case stems from incidents that occurred between 2008 and 2011. The felony charges involve two kids, but Leszczynski said four children were involved in the case, accounting for the four endangerment charges.
The children disclosed the abuse a substantial time after it stopped, Leszczynski said, so no medical experts testified, and no DNA evidence was presented. The conviction hinged on their testimony.
State penal law says one is guilty of sexual conduct against a child when he engages in two or more acts of oral or anal sexual conduct with a child less than 11 years old.
Leszczynski asked Catena to issue the maximum penalty against Ressy. His conviction carried a potential of 50 years in prison -- 25 years for each felony charge.
"The testimony in this case was difficult to listen to," she told the judge. "The acts committed against very small children were heinous, to say the least. He has taken something from them which we should all have the sanctity of, and that's the innocence of a child."
Leszczynski added that Ressy has been on parole five separate times, including when the molestation crimes occurred.
Ressy is currently incarcerated at the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility in connection with a second-degree burglary conviction.
When asked to address the court, Ressy originally said he had nothing to say.
Jeffrey Francisco, Ressy's attorney, said the case was purely testimonial with no evidence to corroborate it, and said Ressy continues to maintain his innocence.
"I believe otherwise, based on the testimony, and the findings of the jury," Judge Felix Catena said.
Before imposing the sentence, Catena said he considered several factors, most related to whether he could consider Ressy a functioning member of society. Catena said he'd additionally have to sentence Ressy as a prior violent felony offender, noting both the robbery and sex crimes were committed while Ressy was on parole.
"What that says to me is your inability to stay crime-free, even while being supervised," Catena said.
Secondly, Catena said he didn't see any remorse or acknowledgment of wrongdoing.
"That's indicative of somebody who hasn't learned from their mistakes ... you're likely more apt to commit them again," he said.
Ressy's lifelong unemployment, having never held a job, was also a factor, Catena said.
"Someone who has never worked, and you are 36-years-old, is problematic," he said.
"These are all things indicative of a stable individual," Catena added. "Someone who is able to live in society, and show some kind of responsibility and stability. These are factors to consider when thinking, once they get out, whether they will be crime-free or not."
Lastly, Catena said he "of course considered the violent crimes committed against very young children."
"This sentence hopes to do a couple things. Punish you for your conduct. Hopefully, rehabilitate you as a certified sex offender. You'll get some attention for that from people who know what they're doing. And, word gets out -- if you commit these kind of crimes, you're going to spend a long time behind bars. Why? I don't think I need to explain why. You can't have people committing violent felony sex offenses against small children. We know what happens to people when they're abused like this at a very young age. Their wiring gets messed up. They have relationship problems, employment problems, issues with drugs and alcohol. By the grace of God, these kids might be able to overcome this, to live a life sentence of this abuse."
Catena gave Ressy another chance to address him before imposing a sentence.
Ressy lethargically said: "I never did nothing to those kids. My daughter is the sister of those four kids. I never touched these kids."
Ressy admitted he has three children, including one with a woman who testified against him during the trial.
Catena sentenced Ressy to two 20-year consecutive prison sentences for each violent felony offense, a year in jail for each count of endangering the welfare of a child (which will be merged with the state prison terms), mandatory fees and surcharges.
Ressy only shook his head.