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Lockport man draws long sentence in Laundromat sex attack

LOCKPORT – Lemuel L. Hardy Jr., who attacked and sexually abused a 37-year-old woman in a Lockport Laundromat last year, was sentenced Monday to 14 years in prison and 15 years of post-release supervision.

Hardy, 28, of Adam Street, Lockport, had pleaded guilty Feb. 9 to attempted first-degree criminal sexual act in exchange for a 12-year sentencing limit. However, Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon declared that after reading details in the presentencing report, she couldn’t stick with that cap. Hardy was given the option of withdrawing his guilty plea and going to trial, but he declined. If convicted as originally charged, he faced a potential life sentence as a persistent felon.

The probation officer who wrote the report said that in her opinion, Hardy cannot be rehabilitated by “any amount of supervision.”

Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols said the victim in the April 29 incident in the Chestnut Street Laundromat “was doing nothing other than helping a friend with some laundry, and a person she didn’t know attacked her in the middle of the day in a public place.”

Hardy’s record includes state prison sentences for burglaries in 2006 and 2009.