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Two Falls men plead guilty to sex crimes involving young girls

LOCKPORT – Two Niagara Falls men who repeatedly molested girls, including one who fathered a child by an 11-year-old girl, accepted plea offers Friday in Niagara County Court.

Jacky R. Berry, 52, of Niagara Avenue, took a plea deal to avoid the chance of being convicted on charges that could have brought him a life sentence as a sexual predator.

He admitted to attempted first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. The victim was a girl, now 16, who became pregnant when she was 11 and gave birth to a son in March 2011, Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said.

DNA testing showed Berry was the boy’s father.

Zucco told County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas that he anticipated no serious problems proving his case against Berry. However, he said, “The victim is still a young girl and expressed anxiety about having to testify in this case.”

Thus, the plea bargain, in which Farkas agreed to sentence Berry to something between 10 and 15 years in prison, to be followed by 20 years of post-release supervision.

On Oct. 7, Berry had rejected a plea offer that included a 20-year prison sentence. Defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. said he was able to talk Farkas down by at least five years.

Berry, a Level 3 sex offender, is a second-time child sexual assault felon. His previous conviction came in 1990 for first-degree sexual abuse of a 7-year-old girl, for which he served about eight years in prison. He will be sentenced Jan. 16.

In the other case, Joseph W. Lange, 62, formerly of Weston Avenue, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

Lange, who is now living in LaSalle with his mother, faces up to four years in prison when Farkas sentences him Jan. 16.

Lange admitted repeatedly molesting a 10-year-old girl in Wheatfield between last Christmas and June 21 or 22 of this year. Zucco said some of the incidents occurred in the presence of a younger girl.

Lange, who had no previous criminal record, was arrested July 8. He remains free on $10,000 bail.