Erick J. Meir, still claiming his innocence, will begin serving two 25-to-life concurrent sentences for predatory sexual assault against a child and predatory sexual assault. The judge Wednesday said he wanted to hand down a tougher sentence.
"Based on everything I have read, everything I have heard and everything I have seen in this courtroom, if I could give you more than the maximum I would,” Justice Russell P. Buscaglia told Meir.
Buscaglia presided over Meir’s trial in State Supreme Court in August, when Meir’s victim, a boy who was 3 years old when he was orally sodomized and who is now 5 years old, testified about what happened to him.
Meir, 37, had access to the child while living in a house in Buffalo with some of the boy’s relatives. He denied ever touching the child, and said that people asked him to baby-sit the boy even though he didn’t want to.
Meir also testified how he was abused in several ways as a child after his mother died, and felt that made it hard for him to function well as an adult.
The jury took less than an hour to convict Meir of abusing the 3-year-old in January 2016.
This is Meir’s second conviction for the sexual assault of a boy. In 2003 he was convicted of attempted sodomy in the first degree in a case involving a 6-year-old.
“These are crimes of unspeakable repugnance,” Assistant District Attorney Ryan Haggerty told the judge on Wednesday.
Haggerty, who prosecuted the case with Anthony Rossi, praised the little boy who was “the hero” in the case, and also gave credit to Buffalo Police Detective Joseph Ahmed, who investigated.
Haggerty pointed out that in a police interview Meir told Ahmed that he didn’t need counseling and that it didn’t work for him.
“He is, in every sense, a menace to society,” Haggerty said.
Defense attorney Robert Goldstein argued otherwise, asking the judge to consider the minimum sentence of 15 years to life as a suitable deterrent. He noted that Meir was never accused of any other physical violence beyond the sex acts with his victims and that the boy who testified appeared to have a good chance of recovery, even appearing “happy go-lucky” when he was in court.
Buscaglia conceded that the child victims suffered no further violence and that Meir was known to have some mental health issues.
Still, he said, Meir had continued to say he didn’t need counseling for his behavior, even though he said that he has difficulty controlling his impulses toward children. The judge said he was surprised that Meir received only a six-year sentence for his first offense.
With two 25-to-life terms, he did not repeat that leniency.