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Former owner of Alessi Fitness Center admits spiking college intern’s drink

An Orchard Park man on Friday admitted to spiking an energy drink and giving it to a college intern working at his family’s Clarence fitness center.

Donald A. Alessi Jr., 45, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

Alessi admitted causing stupor or physical impairment by giving the drug-laced drink to the woman on April 13, 2012.

State Police charged Alessi with second-degree assault and facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance when he was arrested in June 2013.

Police said he added GHB, short for gamma hydroxybutyric acid, to the energy drink to act as “an intoxicant or as a date rape drug.”

An Erie County grand jury in October 2013 indicted him on the assault and facilitating charges and also for first-degree sexual abuse.

Alessi pleaded guilty to the most serious charge in the indictment, said Assistant District Attorney Rosanne E. Johnson, chief of the Special Victims Bureau at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant District Attorney Lynette M. Reda also prosecuted the case.

After the allegations surfaced, Alessi resigned from Alessi Personal Fitness on Transit Road to avoid hurting the business, which he and his brother started two decades ago.

Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case set sentencing for June 8. The judge allowed Alessi to remain free on his own recognizance at the request of defense attorney Paul J. Cambria.

The sentencing possibilities, according to Case, include two to seven years in state prison or up to one year in county jail. He could also be sentenced to probation for up to five years and fined up to $5,000.

email: jstaas@buffnews.com