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Lawsuit accuses ex-prosecutor of molesting 16-year-old babysitter

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(Buffalo News illustration)

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A Child Victims Act lawsuit was filed on Wednesday against Michael R. Stebick, a former Erie County prosecutor who was convicted in 2008 of human trafficking for transporting a prostitute for a men's organization known as the Royal Order of Jesters.

Stebick, 72, is accused in the lawsuit of molesting a 16-year-old girl in his Orchard Park home in 1992.

“My client was a babysitter, hired by Stebick, and he was about 44 at the time,” said Buffalo attorney Richard P. Weisbeck Jr., who filed the case. "There were multiple incidents.”

Reached by telephone on Thursday, Stebick told The Buffalo News he has “no idea” who is making the allegations. The victim is not identified by name in the State Supreme Court lawsuit.

“Good Lord, I don’t know anything about this. Are they looking for money?” Stebick said. “I guess I should be getting a lawyer.”

Several hours later, Rodney O. Personius, an attorney for Stebick, called The News to say Stebick "adamantly denies having any kind of sexual relations with an underage woman."

The alleged victim is now an Erie County resident in her mid-40s. Stebick was a prosecutor in the Erie County District Attorney's office when the alleged incidents occurred.

Weisbeck told The News that the lawsuit allegations have no connection to the Jesters case, which resulted in Stebick’s sentencing to four months of home confinement in December 2008.

Stebick was one of four public officials from Western New York who pleaded guilty to criminal charges involving the Jesters, an organization of men who held meetings and parties in cities all over the United States.

According to federal prosecutors, the Jesters frequently employed strippers and prostitutes at their parties, with some of the prostitutes – referred to as “Jesters Girls” in court papers – being illegally transported over state lines for the events.

Under a felony plea deal, Stebick agreed to forfeit to the federal government his 2000 Challenger motor home, which he admitted using to transport a prostitute and some Jesters to a club event in Kentucky in 2005.

Stebick worked for the DA’s office from 1973 until 1995. He then worked as a law clerk to State Supreme Court Justice Ronald H. Tills, a Jesters member who was sentenced in 2009 to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to a felony human trafficking crime in the same case. Stebick said he transported the prostitute as the request of Tills, who died in 2018.

Two retired police officers, John Trowbridge and Michael Lesinski, were sentenced to probation after also admitting that they transported “Jesters Girls” across state lines for parties.

Investigators from the Western New York Human Trafficking Task Force said they learned of the illegal activities associated with the Jesters while probing prostitution activities at massage parlors in Erie and Niagara counties.

Read the lawsuit against Michael R. Stebick

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