A Buffalo man has been granted a new trial on charges that he molested his 7-year-old foster child in his home five years ago.
Louis Mancini, 57, was granted a new trial after an appellate court overturned his conviction Friday.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester ruled that Erie County Judge John V. Rogowski erred in letting a 40-year-old Buffalo woman testify at Mancini's trial last March about how he allegedly molested her when she was a foster child 30 years ago.
The prosecution called the woman, who was a 14-year-old foster daughter of Mancini in the late 1960s, as a rebuttal witness after Mancini's attorney's presented witnesses to testify about his "good reputation" in the community.
The appellate court agreed with Michael A. Iacono, one of Mancini's attorneys, that Rogowski should not have let the woman testify about the alleged attack on her.
The court said her testimony should have been limited to the defendant's reputation and not the alleged acts of molestation against her, which were similar to those for which he was being tried.
District Attorney Kevin M. Dillon said he believes Rogowski's ruling was correct and said he will ask the Court of Appeals in Albany, the state's highest court, to review the case.
Mancini was convicted of sodomy, sex abuse and child endangerment for the 1990 attack in his Depew Avenue home and was sentenced June 30 to 4 to 13 years in prison, but Rogowski let him stay out of jail on $10,000 bail while his lawyers appealed his conviction.
During the trial, the victim, who is now 12, testified that Mancini molested her in his home in March and April 1990.
Prosecutors said the victim's natural mother reported the problem to the state child abuse hot line, and an investigation was launched that led to the charges against Mancini.
Mancini and his wife were county foster parents from 1967 until 1975 and from 1989 until they were dropped from the program in June 1990 amid the child-molesting allegations.