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Falls man admits molesting two children, faces 30-year maximum sentence

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls man admitted in Niagara County Court Friday that he molested a boy and a girl three years apart.

Charles E. Bass Sr., 43, of 18th Street, accepted a plea offer to two counts of attempted first-degree criminal sexual act and was scheduled for sentencing Sept. 30 by Judge Sara Sheldon.

Bass faced a potential life prison sentence if convicted under the original indictment for predatory sexual assault against a child. But even with the plea deal, Sheldon could sentence him to as long as 30 years.

Bass was accused of molesting a boy as they rode around the North Tonawanda area in a car sometime in the spring of 2010. Three years later, in another springtime incident, the victim was a girl, and the crime occurred in Niagara Falls.

Both children were under age 13 at the time of the crimes, Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said. Evidence in the case included a confession to State Police and a letter of apology to one of the victims.

In another sex case Friday, County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III imposed the 15-year prison term he had intended for Kenneth T. Mulcahy, who had forcible sex with a 16-year-old girl last July in his Newfane home, while Mulcahy’s live-in girlfriend held the victim’s hand and told her it was “time to be a lady now.”

Mulcahy, 53, who later moved to the Town of Alabama, pleaded guilty to use of a child in a sexual performance for taking pictures of the first sexual assault and using them to blackmail the girl into having sex with him again a few days later.

Two weeks ago, Murphy sought to impose a 5- to 15-year sentence, but Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh told the judge the crime required a determinate sentence, not a range. In New York, determinate sentences also result in probation-like post-release supervision, and no one could remember if Mulcahy had been told about that when he pleaded guilty April 15.

Assistant Public Defender A. Joseph Catalano said Friday a check of the transcript from the April 15 court session proved Murphy had told Mulcahy about post-release supervision. Murphy then gave Mulcahy 10 years of such supervision.

Mulcahy’s girlfriend, Theresa A. Ferguson, 54, is serving four years in prison for her role in facilitating the sexual assault.

Also Friday, a Niagara Falls man whose trial on a statutory rape charge ended in a hung jury decided to go to trial again Sept. 12.

Richard Ackerman, 41, of 85th Street, rejected an offer to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, sexual misconduct, which would have required him to admit having sex with a 16-year-old girl in his home on the night of June 20-21, 2015.

Ackerman testified at the trial that ended June 29 that he never had any contact with the girl beyond kissing her. The girl testified otherwise, but the jury voted 9-3 for acquittal. The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for parts of three days before Sheldon declared a mistrial.


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