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Tonawanda man gets 15 years for kidnapping young girl

LOCKPORT – A Town of Tonawanda man with three previous convictions for crimes involving young girls showed no remorse and denied his guilt Tuesday as he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for kidnapping a 5-year-old girl from her North Tonawanda home and sexually abusing her last summer.

David J. Grover, 35, of Niagara Falls Boulevard, had pleaded guilty on Feb. 21 to second-degree kidnapping as a sexually motivated felony and agreed in advance to a 15-year prison sentence followed by 25 years of post-release supervision. He will be a registered sex offender when he is released.

“I feel like people don’t know me. I’ve been in some weird situations,” Grover said. “But I’ve never committed a sex crime – I’ve never, never been convicted in a trial.”

“If he didn’t commit it, I am willing to give him a trial,” said Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas. “The evidence is very persuasive.”

However, Grover said he would agree to his guilty plea.

Deputy District Attorney Holly A. Sloma said prosecutors agreed to a plea so the 5-year-old girl wouldn’t have to “face the man who did this to her.”

She also noted the past cases with similar histories involving other young girls.

Sloma said in 2004 Grover was in a home, nude from the waist down, in front of a 12-year-old girl. In 2007 there was a case similar to last summer’s incident in which he took a friend’s 4-year-old girl without permission.

“He called it a misunderstanding and, sadly, they believed him,” Sloma said. “Each one of these cases is extremely disturbing, and he just doesn’t want to take responsibility.”

She added, “This is the third you were implicated in an extremely disturbing case ... Your failure to make changes makes you a dangerous person.”

In a court statement, the mother of the young girl said, “The fact that you are going to prison is a relief. A relief to know that you won’t hurt another child.” She spoke to The Buffalo News after court and said her daughter is doing much better. She said Grover was like a brother to her and had grown up with her ex-husband.

In another case, a Middleport man pleaded guilty to disseminating indecent material to a minor.

David L. Vercruysse, 38, of Main Street, was stopped by state police in Lockport on Jan. 24 and found with nude photos on his cellphone of a girl under age 16. He had been on parole after being convicted of felony drunken-driving charges in May 2011.

As a second felony offender, Vercruysse could face a maximum of two to four years in prison when he is sentenced on July 17. Because of the parole violation, Vercruysse is being held without bail, but Farkas stipulated a bail of $100,000 if he is released prior to sentencing.