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FORMER DAY CARE WORKER CLEARED IN SEX-ABUSE CASE

Michael S. Mitzo, a former Orchard Park day care center worker, was found innocent Monday of molesting a 6-year-old girl last summer at the facility.

After about four hours of deliberations that began Friday afternoon and resumed Monday morning, a 12-member jury found Mitzo, 25, not guilty of four counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

The acquittal came after a weeklong trial before State Supreme Court Justice Joseph S. Forma.

Mitzo was a caregiver at the Room to Grow center at 6562 E. Quaker St. for about five years before he was fired in the aftermath of his arrest.

The mother of the girl he had been accused of molesting left the courtroom in tears after the verdict.

Last week, the 6-year-old girl was called to testify. Prosecutors also called another girl, now 9, who talked about an incident that allegedly happened five years ago at the day care center; Mitzo was not charged in connection with the older girl.

Mitzo, of Wohlhueter Road in Colden, testified Thursday and denied ever molesting the girls. Also that day, the mother of the 6-year-old girl told the jury that she called Orchard Park police Aug. 8 after her daughter told her of the alleged incidents.

Had Mitzo been convicted of any of the sexual abuse charges, he would have faced a mandatory prison term of two to 28 years, court officials said.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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