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Former Niagara County sheriff’s dispatcher sentenced in child porn case

LOCKPORT – A former civilian dispatcher for the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office was placed on six months of interim probation in a child pornography case Friday, pending a final sentencing decision.

“It’s one of those ‘Oh, my God; he should have known better’ moments,” County Judge Sara Sheldon said. “He was a member of law enforcement while he was offending.”

Timothy M. Kong, 35, of Northview Drive, Town of Lockport, pleaded guilty in April to two felony counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child as sexually motivated felonies. He faces a maximum of 14 years in prison, but defense attorney Michael S. Deal argued for interim probation.

He said Kong was in treatment with a counselor who allowed him to look at adult porn, which resulted in a negative presentencing report from a probation officer. Deal said Kong is now working with a different psychologist with more conservative methods.

Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said “hundreds, if not thousands of images” of child porn were found on Kong’s home computer, which was seized in 2013. She said federal investigators, who later handed the case off to the District Attorney’s Office, determined Kong had been buying and downloading child porn from 2008 to 2011.

“Treatment is something that can be done in custody,” Sloma said in arguing for an immediate prison term. “There needs to be some punishment aspect to this because of the nature of the offense.”

Sheldon agreed with Sloma in calling the offense “egregious,” but the judge concluded by telling Kong, “I think if I give you interim probation, we’re just prolonging the inevitable, but we’ll try it.”

Kong joined the Sheriff’s Office in September 2006 and resigned in January 2013, county personnel records show. Sloma said none of the pornography was downloaded onto any county computers.

In another child porn case Friday, Jeremi I. Delgross was sent to state prison, but he won’t be there for long.

Delgross, 32, of Beckwith Avenue, Town of Niagara, pleaded guilty in April to one felony count of possession of a sexual performance by a child for material he was caught with July 22.

Sheldon sentenced him to 18 months in prison and 10 years of post-release supervision, but Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said that because of assorted delays in the case, Delgross has been in the county jail for 11 months, and that time counts toward his state sentence.

Wydysh and Assistant Public Defender A. Joseph Catalano urged Sheldon not to simply sentence Delgross to time served.

The attorneys agreed he needs some form of supervision and mental health counseling. “He’s looking forward to that,” Catalano said.

Sheldon, who could have sentenced Delgross to as long as four years, said she thought state prison was necessary because of Delgross’ record, which includes a conviction for sexual abuse as a juvenile delinquent, as well as arrests for child endangerment and public lewdness. She said that when Delgross is released, he is likely to be rated a Level 3 sex offender, the type regarded as most likely to offend again.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com