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A West Seneca man was spared prison Monday after molesting a 10-year-old girl in 1995 and, more recently, sending child pornography over the Internet. Acting State Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. McCarthy sentenced Stephen Balon to five years probation and 50 hours of community service teaching computer courses to the elderly, ordered him to stay away from children and to register as a sex offender.

Balon, 22, told McCarthy he has a girlfriend who is helping him to overcome his attraction to children, which "haunts me today." The judge ordered him to continue psychological counseling.

McCarthy, who granted Balon youthful offender status in the 1995 molestation case, signed an order of protection for the 10-year-old girl. he The judge told Balon, a former Blasdell resident who recently moved to West Seneca, "there'll be serious consequences" if his inappropriate touching of young children resumes.

Balon pleaded guilty Oct. 22 to first-degree attempted sexual contact in the April 1995 incidents and attempted promotion of a sexual performance by a child younger than 16 for the Internet offenses last year.

Philip M. Marshall, Balon's lawyer, said his client is "not a violent young man" but had trouble making friends during his school years because of learning-disorder problems he apparently has overcome.

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