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NT teen avoids jail for child molestation

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III placed a North Tonawanda teenager on 10 years’ probation Tuesday for molesting a 9-year-old girl last May, but denied him youthful offender status.

Jordan L. Hoefert, 17, of Payne Avenue, thus will have to return to court April 10 to receive his sex offender classification. He had pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse.

Murphy agreed with Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco, who cited “the right the community has to know a dangerous sex offender is living in their midst.” However, defense attorney Patrick McLaughlin said Hoefert may have to move.

Zucco said that’s because of North Tonawanda’s quarter-mile buffer zone law, barring sex offenders from living within that radius of a school, park or daycare center. City Attorney Shawn P. Nickerson said that the law is still on the books because there has been no decision in a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. The case is not expected to be heard in State Supreme Court until July, he said.