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Guard's lawyers call indictment unfair

Attorneys for Roger L. Hueber, a suspended Niagara County Jail guard accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1999, argued in Niagara County Court on Wednesday the indictment and means used to obtain it were unfair to their client.

Defense attorneys David C. Douglas and Patrick M. Balkin told Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza that 14 counts of the 21-count indictment accuse Hueber, 42, of Caledonia Street, of crimes sometime between June 1 and Aug. 28, 1999. They complained the imprecise timing prevents them from using an alibi defense and called on the judge to make the prosecutors use exact dates.

Assistant District Attorney Caroline M. Wojtaszek said it was impossible to get more detail from the victim, especially since the incidents occurred during summer and there were no school events or holidays to try to focus the girl's memory of the alleged crimes.

Wojtaszek also said the investigation began last year, when an assistant principal at Lockport High School began working with the alleged victim, a special education student, on a journal that included references to sex acts with Hueber. Douglas and Balkin demanded that the journals be turned over; Wojtaszek said she had never seen them. Sperrazza said she will issue a subpoena, review the journals and decide if they can be turned over to the defense.

The defense also argued the grand jury was biased because Sheriff's Department investigator Joseph R. Taylor read the jurors a statement by Sheryl Rucci, 33, Hueber's ex-girlfriend, who is a fugitive from a similar child sex indictment.

Balkin and Douglas also complained that another count, accusing Hueber of having sexual contact with a girl in a motel in 2004, actually occurred in Erie County and should be dismissed. Wojtaszek asserted the intent to molest the girl was formed in Niagara County. Sperrazza reserved decision on all the issues.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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