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EX-NFTA OFFICER GETS PROBATION

Wilfred Acosta, a former transit police officer, has been spared a prison term for his sexual affair last summer with the then-16-year-old daughter of a friend. But a judge ordered him Wednesday to continue the sex offender counseling.

Acosta, 48, the father of two, was at times tearful as he told Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio he was "very sorry" for the harm he caused both families.

On the recommendation of the county Probation Department, DiTullio placed Acosta on probation for 10 years and ordered him to continue the counseling he began shortly after he pleaded guilty and lost his job with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

The judge also issued an order of protection barring him from any contact with the girl.

Acosta, now working as an $8-an-hour cleaner, also becomes a registered sex offender.

Acosta had been indicted for three separate sexual episodes with the girl in his former Amherst home and in a Niagara County hotel last June, July and August. He pleaded guilty Feb. 23 to a single felony charge of engaging in a criminal sexual act and was forced to resign as an NFTA police officer assigned to airport duty, a position he had held for 19 years.

Prosecutors said the criminal investigation began when the mother of a friend of the victim learned of the affair from her daughter and called authorities.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com