Share this article

print logo

Buffalo man risks three life terms in sex case; Lewiston dad sentenced

LOCKPORT – Three counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, any one of which could carry a life prison term in case of conviction, were lodged Friday against a Buffalo man.

Charles E. Bass Sr., 43, of Lombard Street, pleaded not guilty to the indictment unsealed in Niagara County Court.

Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said Bass allegedly molested two children under the age of 11. One of the victims allegedly was abused while riding in a car with Bass as he drove around the North Tonawanda area in 2010; the other allegedly was molested in Niagara Falls in 2013.

Sloma said she has a strong case, which she said includes a confession from Bass to police, as well as what Judge Sara Sheldon said was a purported letter of apology.

Bass’ criminal record includes 2010 convictions in North Tonawanda for misdemeanor assault and attempted scheming to defraud, she said.

Bass is being held in the Niagara County Jail. Sheldon increased bail from $50,000 to $150,000 after Sloma said the original bail was set in lower court when only one victim was known.

In another sex case Friday, Sheldon took an adolescent girl’s advice on a sentence for the Lewiston man who molested her.

The girl said in court that she wanted to see Mark D. Pfohl go to jail, but not for so long that he couldn’t see his own children grow up.

Sheldon adopted that idea and gave Pfohl a two-year state prison sentence, which was the least she could have imposed if she didn’t place Pfohl on probation. She also tacked on 10 years of post-release supervision and said Pfohl, diagnosed as a pedophile by a local psychologist, presumably will be rated a Level 3 sex offender, the most severe rating.

Pfohl, 38, of Upper Mountain Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. He molested two preteen girls starting in September 2013. One victim was abused over a nine-month period, the other for 16 months.

Assistant Public Defender Michele G. Bergevin argued for interim probation, saying the same psychologist reported that Pfohl’s chance of committing more sex crimes is low to moderate if he continues counseling. She also noted that Pfohl’s wife just gave birth to a child last week.

Sheldon was angered by 12 letters she received on Pfohl’s behalf from people who said the girls were lying. “That makes me sick to my stomach,” the judge said.

Pfohl said, “I am truly sorry for what I did. Everything that happened to these girls is my fault. I’m ashamed of myself.”

Also Friday, Kenneth T. Mulcahy, 53, of Meadville Road, Town of Alabama, pleaded guilty to use of a child in a sexual performance for taking photos of a 16-year-old girl as he had sex with her on July 18 in his home at the time on Jockey Road in Newfane. Mulcahy’s girlfriend, Theresa A. Ferguson, 54, of Lockport, was sentenced to four years in prison March 29 for holding the girl’s hand and encouraging her during the incident, telling her, “It’s time to be a lady now.”

Mulcahy, who has an eighth-grade education and said, “I’ve been in special education all my life,” risks up to 15 years in prison when Judge Matthew J. Murphy III sentences him June 28. For now, he’s free on bail.