By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
FONDA -- An Amsterdam man was convicted in a sex abuse trial Thursday at Montgomery County Court, and faces 50 years in state prison if given the maximum sentence, officials said.
After a two-hour deliberation, a jury found Pedro Ressy, 35, guilty of two felony counts of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Assistant District Attorney Sarah Leszczynski, who prosecuted the case, said the charges stemmed from incidents that occurred between 2008 and 2011. The felony charges involve two children, but Leszczynski said four children were involved in the case, accounting for the four endangerment charges.
State penal law says one is guilty of sexual conduct against a child when he engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct with a child less than 11 years old.
Leszczynski said Ressy knew the victims.
"It was a very difficult case because it involved such young people," she said. "I'm certainly grateful to the jury for their time and attention, and for returning a verdict we certainly think was the right one."
Leszczynski presented seven witnesses during the course of the trial, which started with jury selection Monday. Witnesses included the four children, their father, and two members of law enforcement.
The children disclosed the abuse a substantial time after it stopped, Leszczynski said, so no medical experts testified, and no DNA evidence was presented.
She said that made it difficult to prosecute the case, but the successful conviction shows it's never too late for victims to come forward.
"Today's juries are looking for that piece of physical or scientific evidence, and certainly that stems from television and film. But a lot of times, cases are purely testimonial, and it was even more difficult in this case because it hinged on the testimony of small children," she said.
"I couldn't be prouder of these kids. They were so brave," Leszczynski added.
Ressy is currently incarcerated at the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility, serving a sentence for second-degree robbery, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website.
He was scheduled for July release, but when sentenced May 20, he faces a maximum of 50 years.
"He can get 25 years on each felony count, so 50 years for the maximum consecutive," Leszczynski said. "The other charges are misdemeanors, and because one can only serve in local jails for misdemeanors, he won't be serving any time for those counts because they'll be merged with the prison sentence."