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Violent domestic abuser being put into van escapes

A 48-year-old Ashland Avenue man escaped from officials Monday afternoon as he was being put into a van outside 25 Delaware Ave. to be driven to a Delaware County rehabilitation center for a year of court-ordered therapy on a domestic violence-related conviction.

James Mancuso was being sought Tuesday by Erie County sheriff’s deputies and Buffalo police. He ran along Delaware Avenue and eluded deputies after he was unhandcuffed to be placed in the rehabilitation van.

State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges just after 2 p.m. sentenced him to the one-year of rehabilitation therapy when prosecutors gave him a plea deal on misdemeanor charges after he was jailed for the past two months.

Court officials said Mancuso had been rearrested in April after serving almost a year behind bars on an earlier domestic violence conviction.

Until his recapture, court sources are having extra security precautions for Haendiges, given Mancuso’s alleged reputation for violence and his known dislike of the judge.

In sentencing Mancuso to time served Monday along with the year of rehab, the judge had warned him he faced two years in prison for any further infractions.

Now Mancuso, once captured, faces escape and other charges and a likely prison term, court officials said.