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EX-MEDINA POLICE OFFICER SENTENCED FOR SEX ABUSE

Former Medina Police Officer Joseph M. Santoro was sentenced Monday to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison after one of his sexual-abuse victims told a judge her family was devastated and that she, in essence, received a life sentence of memories and depression.

"It didn't happen in a dark alley by a stranger," the woman said of the December 2003 incident. "It happened by a police officer in a police station. Officer Santoro used my son to get access to me . . . He then sexually abused me in a locked room in a police department."

"As a family, we don't laugh any more, and the mood is always quiet and somber," she said, adding that her son feels guilt for what happened and cries when he looks at his mother.

Santoro admitted in January to summoning the woman to the Police Department because her son was in trouble and telling her that if she engaged in a sex act, he could help out her son.

He was sentenced Monday for that, as well as another incident in which the 40-year-old former cop admitted to attempting to sodomize a woman in her home in 2002. The sentence covers his guilty plea to two counts each of attempted sexual abuse and official misconduct.

When Santoro is released from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender under the provisions of Megan's Law.

Assistant District Attorney Diane LaVallee asked Orleans County Judge James P. Punch to hand down the maximum sentence allowed under the plea because Santoro used his badge to victimize the women and shifted blame to the victims.

"(Santoro) is in denial almost to the point of being delusional," LaVallee said.

The plea agreement called for a maximum of four years behind bars instead of the possible 25 years Santoro could have received if the case had gone to trial.

Santoro was with the Medina Police Department for about five years when the accusations were made in October. He also worked previously with the Greece Police Department outside Rochester.

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