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Two child molesters face lengthy prison terms in Niagara County

LOCKPORT – Authorities investigated child molestation allegations against Charles E. Bass Sr. of Niagara Falls for several years, and finally came up with enough evidence to put him away, a prosecutor said at Bass’ sentencing Friday.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon gave Bass 20 years in state prison, plus 15 years of post-release supervision, for sexually abusing a boy in the spring of 2010 as they rode in a vehicle in the North Tonawanda area, and a girl in the spring of 2013 in Niagara Falls. Both victims were under age 13 at the time of the crimes.

Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said Bass, 43, of 18th Street, long was on the radar of the Child Advocacy Center, Child Protective Services and local police before she and colleague Robert A. Zucco were able to obtain an indictment earlier this year. Bass ended up pleading guilty July 15 to two counts of attempted first-degree criminal sexual act.

Those are Class C felonies, and under state law, 20 years is the limit on consecutive sentencing for multiple felonies of that level.

“If there’s ever a defendant who deserves the maximum sentence, it’s Charles Bass. Charles Bass Sr. has been the subject of years of investigation,” Sloma told the judge. “He has destroyed children, and did it in order to satisfy his disturbing urges.”

Sloma praised the agencies who stuck with the case. “I’m so proud,” she said.

“There is nothing I can say that will explain any of my actions, which I take full responsibility for,” Bass said in a letter to the judge which Sheldon read aloud.

Bass wrote that he has stopped using alcohol and drugs since he was jailed in February. “Now, with a clear head, I am more disgusted with myself than ever,” the letter said.

Assistant Public Defender A. Joseph Catalano said Bass told him he was molested by his own stepfather at age 11 and put up with it for a year before running away from home to live with his grandparents.

In another sex case Friday, a truck driver from Mayfield, Ohio, who in effect commuted to North Tonawanda to molest the children of friends there, accepted a plea deal.

Bradley M. Heinichen, 29, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count of child endangerment to satisfy a 15-count indictment that accused him of abusing three boys between May 2014 and June of this year. Two of the victims now are 12 years old and the other is 16.

Sheldon accepted a deal worked out by the prosecution and defense to give Heinichen a 15-year prison term with 20 years of post-release supervision. She will impose it officially on Dec. 9. Heinichen is being held without bail in the meantime.

Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols said the sentencing recommendation was made with the approval of the boys’ families. Heinichen admitted specifically to sexual acts with the two 12-year-olds that occurred on the night of June 16-17.


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