LOCKPORT – Paul S. Turley, who was convicted of molesting two girls after skipping out on his trial, was brought back to Niagara County Court on Friday.
Turley, 47, of Lincoln Avenue, Dunkirk, was jailed without bail to await sentencing May 10 by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas.
Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols said Turley could serve as long as 30 years in prison for the crimes, which involved two North Tonawanda girls who now are 21 years old. They didn’t come forward and reveal the crimes until 2011.
They were 5 to 7 years old when the crimes occurred, between August 1996 and June 1998. One of the accusers said Turley fondled her again on Christmas Day 2003, when she was 12. Turley was living in North Tonawanda at the time of the crimes.
Turley left Lockport during the lunch break after jury selection for his trial was completed Jan. 23. The jurors weren’t told what had happened until after they delivered their verdict Jan. 28: guilty of first- and second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and first-degree sexual abuse.
Nichols said District Attorney Michael J. Violante is considering whether to bring a bail-jumping charge against Turley. If he were convicted of that, it could add up to seven years to his sentence, Nichols said.
Turley’s attorney, D. Daniel Stevanovic, said he wanted time to have a talk with his client. “He just got in [Thursday] night at 11:30,” Stevanovic said.
Turley, his wife, Diane, and their two dogs left the area, but they were all captured Feb. 21 in a trailer park outside Tucson, Ariz., where Turley had an acquaintance.
An appearance ticket was issued against Diane Turley on a felony charge of hindering prosecution.
Nichols said she was released after a court appearance in Tucson, and she does not know the woman’s whereabouts now.
Nichols said Diane Turley would have to appear in Lockport City Court, but court officials there said they had no paperwork on the case.
Jurors who spoke to The Buffalo News after the trial said Turley’s presence wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome. They said a recorded phone call one of the women made to Turley on Dec. 19, 2011, was the key evidence.
On the tape, Turley admitted that there had been contact with the caller when she was a little girl and commented, “In my misguided mind, the things we were doing together were not bad.”
He also said, “Well, maybe I’m just a bad person. … You can spit on my grave when I die, I mean, if it makes you feel better.”