LOCKPORT – Level 3 sex offender Sean M. Vickers, already facing a 50-year maximum prison sentence in Genesee County for molesting three boys, pleaded guilty Monday to molesting the same boys in Niagara County last year.
It took more than three hours of negotiation and consultation on the morning Vickers’ trial was to begin before the 45-year-old Geneva man took the deal the District Attorney’s Office offered: guilty pleas to three felonies, one for each victim, in exchange for a 20-year sentencing cap.
Vickers admitted to attempted first-degree criminal sexual act, second-degree criminal sexual act and attempted first-degree sexual abuse, all for incidents in March 2013 in the Somerset-Middleport area.
Assistant Public Defender A. Joseph Catalano said, “My client has had some time to devote to personal introspection. He believes this plea is in his best interest.”
Vickers was convicted July 31 in a Genesee County jury trial of two counts each of first-degree sodomy and first-degree criminal sexual act and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. Judge Robert Noonan is to sentence him Aug. 28, the Genesee County DA’s Office said. He will be sentenced in Niagara County on Sept. 26.
Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco and Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas both emphasized that the 20-year Niagara County sentence, to be paired with 15 years of post-release supervision, will be served simultaneously with whatever Noonan imposes, and it will stand even if the Genesee County conviction is overturned. Vickers has the right to appeal that jury’s verdict.
However, there was a hang-up in Niagara County over Vickers’ demand that he not have to give up his right to appeal a key pretrial ruling by Farkas. Eventually, he signed the waiver of those rights, which is standard in plea bargains.
Catalano filed a motion asking for the charges to be dismissed over the speedy trial issue, but Farkas rejected the argument last week.
Vickers, who said he has a master’s degree in information technology, hinted that he might appeal that anyway. “As far as I understand, I still have constitutional rights to appeal,” he said.
“Constitutional rights survive everything,” Farkas said.
Catalano said the question is whether there was a violation of New York’s 180-day time limit between the filing of a criminal complaint and the trial, and whether that would be a statutory or a constitutional issue.