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LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man was convicted by a jury Thursday of sexually abusing two girls and beating a third.

A County Court jury found Willie J. Coleman Jr., 35, of Ashland Avenue, guilty of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Assistant District Attorney Jeanne M. Juliao said Coleman was found guilty of having sexual contact with a 10-year-old girl two or more times between September 1998 and June 1999; sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl once in July 1999; and beating an 11-year-old girl between February and June 1999.

Coleman was acquitted on counts of first- and second-degree rape. Nevertheless, Juliao said Coleman could be sentenced to as much as 25 years in prison.

Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. will sentence him April 12.

, Arguments postponed
in one pay-cut case

LOCKPORT -- Arguments over defense motions in the case of County Legislator James W. Ward have been rescheduled for April 9.

Arguments were originally scheduled for Wednesday by City Judge William J. Watson, but the district attorney's office was late in delivering grand jury minutes to the defense because of a staff shortage, and defense attorney George V.C. Muscato was not able to file his motions in time.

Ward, R-Newfane, is charged with a misdemeanor count of official misconduct in the Board of Elections salary scandal.

He is accused of helping the election commissioners conceal from other lawmakers that the commissioners had never received a 10 percent pay cut the Legislature voted them in December 1998.

Former Democratic Commissioner Judith M. Cirifalco is facing charges of official misconduct and falsifying business records. Republican Commissioner Michael J. Norris was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Ward and Cirifalco.

Muscato said he was given until March 14 to hand in his motions, based on a reading of the grand jury minutes. He wouldn't say what motions he will offer.

First Assistant District Attorney Timothy R. Lundquist said he was given until April 4 to file written replies to the motions.

Falls woman gets two years
in assault on tavern owner

LOCKPORT -- Lori Woodcock, 36, of Seventh Street, Niagara Falls, was sentenced to two years in prison in a robbery case Thursday by County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.

Woodcock had pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree robbery. She was also ordered to undergo three years of supervision after she gets out of jail.

Woodock and Huff were accused of accosting Norman Bilski, 79, owner of Bilski's No-Name Tavern on Falls Street, on Nov. 26. Bilski was knocked down, threatened with a knife and robbed of $275.

Also in Broderick's courtroom Thursday, Joseph S. Davis, 21, of Caravelle Drive, Niagara Falls, was placed on five years' probation for fourth-degree arson.

Davis was charged with setting two fires outside the former Moose Lodge on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Niagara Falls. A rubbish fire June 28 caused only minor damage, but a blaze set in the entrance to the building Sept. 22 did $5,000 damage.

Thefts over 12 years
bring probation sentence

LOCKPORT -- A woman who prosecutors said stole more than $40,000 from her employer over a 12-year period was placed on five years' probation Thursday by County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.

Mary Carol L. LeFebvre, 56, of Davison Road, Lockport, wrote a long series of company checks to herself at McGonigle & Hilger Roofing Co. in that city between April 1987 and December 1999.

LeFebvre, who pleaded guilty to first-degree falsifying business records, will have to pay restitution, the exact amount of which is to be determined at a hearing on March 13.

Broderick also ordered LeFebvre to spend five weekends in the county jail, perform 200 hours of community service, avoid drinking alcohol and undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Sanborn man takes plea deal
in child sex-abuse case

LOCKPORT -- A Sanborn man has accepted a plea bargain in a child sexual-abuse case.

Robert J. Wolcott, 59, of Saunders Settlement Road, will be sentenced April 17 by County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza for attempted first-degree sexual abuse.

Wolcott was accused of having sexual contact with a girl under age 11 in Lewiston on one occasion between January and April 2000, Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said.

Driver swerves, hits tree,
suffers a head injury

HARTLAND -- A Medina man was injured early Thursday when he swerved his car to avoid an animal and sideswiped a large tree in front of 8782 Ridge Road, sheriff's Deputy Todd T. Ostrowski said.

John V. Burkett, 38, of Oak Orchard Road, was listed in stable condition with a head injury Thursday in Medina Memorial Hospital, a hospital official said.

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