By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
FONDA -- The Fort Plain businessman who's had frequent run-ins with law enforcement as of late pleaded guilty Friday to one count of second-degree criminal sexual act in connection to the child molestation crimes he was accused of last year.
Under the plea, Dennis J. Todd, 62, of 24 Willett St., will be sentenced May 22 to seven years in state prison with 10 years of post-release supervision, according to District Attorney James E. "Jed" Conboy.
Todd was charged in a 10-count indictment handed up by a grand jury in December, including first-degree criminal sexual act, 10 counts of second-degree criminal sexual act, and endangering the welfare of a child.
He was accused of having sexual contact with a 13-year-old male on multiple occasions. The first-degree charge stems from a January 2007 incident that took place in the village of Canajoharie. The second-degree charge stems from 10 incidents that took place between December 2010 and the summer of 2011.
The matter was scheduled to go to trial April 15, wherein Todd would have faced 25 years in state prison if convicted. Conboy said Todd accepted the plea Friday during a pre-trial conference with his attorney.
Conboy said Todd was not incarcerated after his plea, rather he remains out on $200,000 bail bond. He'll be remanded after sentencing.
Fort Plain police initially arrested Todd in August after a year-long investigation into the allegations. Two days before his arrest, Todd reportedly engaged in an altercation with a victim's family member about the allegations of abuse, and struck them on their head and elbow with a baseball bat, police said.
In addition to a volume of statements, police reported in August they had significant physical evidence against Todd.
Since his initial arrest, he's been busted three additional times, most recently in January.
"This is going to wipe the slate clean," Conboy said, explaining Todd's plea will cover all his pending charges.
A week after his August arrest, Todd had an altercation with a TV news crew that was following up on reports of his arrest.
He was charged with felony reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon, and harassment in connection to the incident, which was partially captured on tape by the WNYT News 13 videographer.
In the recording, members of the TV crew are seen approaching Todd after he exited the Fort Plain Police Station around 2:30 p.m. Aug. 31. Todd is heard yelling for the newsmen to "get out of here," and charged the cameraman. At one point in the confrontation, it appears he threw a brick.
Three days before his indictment in December, Todd was arrested for allegedly driving while ability impaired by drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to keep right after officers say he was involved in a hit-and-run collision with the village fire chief's vehicle on Railroad Street.
Todd's newest charge stems from allegedly attempting to smuggle out of the village a suspect for whom police had an active arrest warrant. He was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of governmental administration.
Todd is identified in the Department of State corporation and business database as the chairman/chief executive officer of Old Fort Plaza Inc., and the owner of Dennis' Daylight Donuts Inc. on River Street in the village.
A call to Mayor Guy Barton Friday to inquire about the business' future was not returned.