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Sex offender, 71, pleads guilty

Dennis Doherty, a 71-year-old Cheektowaga man, faces a 20-year prison term after pleading guilty Monday to molesting three young boys during sleep-overs.

State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski warned Doherty, of Edgebrook Estates, that if he survives his prison term, he will be on post-release supervision by the state courts for another 20 years.

Jailed since late October, Doherty pleaded guilty to single counts of criminal sexual act (sodomy) in the first and second degrees and forcible touching. He admitted molesting the boys -- a 15-year-old and two brothers, ages 12 and 14 -- during sleepovers at his house last summer and fall. After Doherty, who did not go into any detail about the crimes, told the judge, "I'm guilty," Michalski remanded him until his sentencing May 6.

Afterward, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III and Rosanne Eimer Johnson, chief of Sedita's Special Victims Bureau, said the guilty pleas came with the consent of both sets of parents and Cheektowaga police investigators.

Johnson said Doherty befriended the two families and had the boys over for sleepovers last summer and fall. Cheektowaga investigators fear he may have molested the boys for up to two years.

Sedita and Johnson praised the work of Cheektowaga police investigators who tracked down gifts and money Doherty was providing the boys after having gained the confidence of their parents. They said the parents allowed the boys to have sleep-overs with Doherty, unaware he was watching pornographic movies with his young victims.

According to court records, Doherty was arrested locally on a sodomy charge in 1996 but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Until the current investigation, he had not been subject to the state's sex offender registration laws but will now have to register as a sex offender.

Sedita and Johnson refused to say whether there is a continuing investigation to try to track down more possible victims.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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