QUEENSBURY — An Albany County man who brought along a bag of sex toys when planning to meet a young girl for sex was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in state prison Wednesday after his guilty plea in Warren County Court to a felony charge.
Mark D. Hodges, 63, of Latham, pleaded guilty to third-degree aggravated sexual abuse, a felony, in connection with his arrest last June along with 11 other would-be pedophiles who had been lured to a Queensbury motel with the promise of sex with a young girl.
Warren County Judge John Hall imposed the prison sentence, to be followed by 10 years on parole.
A joint investigation involving State Police, Warren County sheriff's officers and the FBI led to the arrest of the men as they showed up for what they thought was going to be a sexual encounter involving at least one adult and a child.
Police posted advertisements on online classified ad websites, offering “taboo fun” at a local motel, and when people responded, the undercover police officer indicated they would involve 9- to 14-year-old girls in sex acts. In addition to the 12 who were arrested, numerous others responded to the ads and indicated interest, but did not travel to the motel. Some drove from as far away as eastern Massachusetts and Dutchess County.
Most of the defendants have pleaded guilty and received sentences of 18 months in state prison and 10 years on parole. One who had child pornography also received a 1- to 3-year sentence in addition to 18 months.
Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone said the defendants' cases were all reviewed and analyzed based on the allegations, their criminal history and other factors in determining an appropriate sentence.
"We evaluated each of these cases individually," he said. "He got an enhanced sentenced based on the circumstances."
Hodges' lawyer, Joseph Brennan, did not return a phone call for comment Thursday.
One of the suspects, Jose R. Zapatas-Cruz, 32, of Schenectady, was indicted on four charges last week, but did not show up for arraignment Wednesday, and Hall issued a warrant for his arrest. Zapatas-Cruz faces two felony counts of attempted criminal sexual act, one felony charge of attempted rape and a misdemeanor count of attempted endangering the welfare of a child.