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EX-AMHERST SEX OFFENDER FACING LIFE IN PRISON

A former Amherst resident who was the first person convicted locally under New York's "kiddie porn" law may face life in prison if convicted in a case pending in the state of Washington.

Louis Anthony DeVincentis, 57, is scheduled to stand trial in November in King County, Wash., on charges that he raped and molested a 13-year-old neighborhood girl he paid to clean his house.

In 1980, DeVincentis was found guilty of a felony count of sexual abuse in New York State Supreme Court, and was fined $5,000 and sentenced to five years probation -- although a judge released him from probation after three years. He was convicted of taking lewd photographs of himself and an 8-year-old girl in his former home on Fleetwood Terrace in Amherst.

His was the first local conviction under the state's "kiddie porn" law of 1977, which was designed to thwart or punish the private -- as well as commercial -- sexual exploitation of young children.

And that case is the basis under which King County prosecutors seek to have him put away for life if he is convicted of the most recent charges.

"We believe that his conviction out of Erie County would qualify in this case as a first-degree child molestation," Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dan Johnson said Wednesday evening. A conviction in Washington would be the second strike in their two-strike law applying to repeat offenders.

DeVincentis, who lives in the southern Seattle suburb of Federal Way, is free on $75,000 bail, Johnson said. But because of what prosecutors learned of his history in Erie County, a motion to increase the bail has been filed, he said.

The current charges allege that during November and December of 1998, DeVincentis persuaded a girl who had just turned 13 to perform sexual acts when she visited his house to clean it. DeVincentis lived alone, Johnson said.

During those cleaning visits, DeVincentis would be dressed only in a G-string and talked the girl into escalating physical contact that began with massages, according to documents released by the prosecutors' office.

The girl repeatedly was cautioned by DeVincentis not to tell anyone about the activity because she would get into trouble, the documents state.

But the cycle was broken after DeVincentis, a travel agent, returned from a trip and again asked that she clean the house. When the girl's mother relayed the message, the girl told her mother she was scared and told her about the abuse, documents state.

DeVincentis was charged in February with second-degree rape of a child and second-degree child molestation.

His Erie County history includes a second conviction, in 1985, when he admitted having an encounter in 1983 with two girls, ages 10 and 14, that involved lewd photos and exercise equipment. He pleaded guilty as charged to misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

An Amherst town justice sentenced DeVincentis to three months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

That second case was pending when DeVincentis moved to the Pacific Northwest.

Since he has lived there, he was convicted in 1991 of criminal trespass -- after having been caught peeking into the bedroom window of a 14-year-old girl at 10:30 p.m., documents state. And he also was convicted in 1995 of two counts of telephone harassment; details were not available Wednesday.

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