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Plea deal criticized in disabled woman's sex abuse case

2009-12-28T16:45:00Z Plea deal criticized in disabled woman's sex abuse caseBy DON LEHMAN, dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
December 28, 2009 4:45 pm  • 

HUDSON FALLS -- A Moreau man who police believe sexually assaulted a disabled woman in a group home has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge after the felony counts against him were dismissed in a plea deal that was criticized Monday by an advocate for the handicapped.

The felony counts against Ricky W. Sousie, 49, were quietly dropped in Washington County Court in November, with a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of an incompetent person filed instead in Hudson Falls Village Court.

Sousie has pleaded guilty to that charge and is awaiting sentencing in Hudson Falls Village Court on Jan. 5. He is expected to receive a 1-year term in Washington County Jail, which is the maximum for the misdemeanor charge. He will not have to register as a sex offender because the charge is not considered a sex offense.

Sousie could have faced up to 7 years in state prison on the felony charge of second-degree criminal sexual act. Michael Carey, founder of the Jonathan Carey Foundation, which advocates for the disabled, has been following the case and called the plea deal "a gross injustice" and said he was "absolutely appalled" when he learned of the plea deal. He said he had spoken to Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright about the case several times and believed there was sufficient evidence to take the case to trial.

"They had an eyewitness and DNA evidence. Personally, I feel that if you took that to a jury, anybody with any common sense would have convicted the guy," Carey said.

Carey said Kortright told him prosecutors believed they couldn't prove a sexual assault occurred, and that Sousie was planning a defense that he masturbated but did not assault the woman. The woman's disability prevents her from talking or communicating.

Kortright's office had said in October its efforts to get medical records in the case were hindered by privacy laws and the fact the victim had no local relatives to consent to the records' release.

Kortright has not returned recent phone calls about the case, including one left on his cell phone voicemail on Monday, and he was not in his office on Monday. Assistant District Attorney Katherine Henley, who was in Hudson Falls Village Court for the guilty plea, referred comment to Kortright on Monday.

A Washington County grand jury filed the charges against Sousie in May, based on DNA evidence and the testimony of a co-worker who told police she saw him on a floor at the Main Street, Hudson Falls group home where he worked, with a partially naked disabled 54-year-old woman on the floor next to him.

The incident happened on Dec. 23, 2006, but because the woman cannot talk, the police investigation stalled until DNA tests were done on semen found near her genitals.

The felony charges were dismissed on the eve of trial, after Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan found the Washington County District Attorney's Office did not turn over evidence to defense lawyer Joseph Brennan as required.

Brennan would not discuss that issue on Monday, but he said Sousie has maintained his innocence and agreed to the plea deal with the understanding the felony charges would be dropped, and to avoid the possibility of a prison sentence.

"He has always denied the charges that were filed against him," Brennan said.

Sousie is no longer employed by the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, which operated the home.

Carey, who started the Jonathan Carey Foundation after his son died in the care of OMRDD, has also questioned how OMRDD could have allowed Sousie to return to work after the co-worker saw him with the woman. He was initially suspended, but when police did not file charges in the months that followed, he was brought back to work at another OMRDD group home in the region until his indictment.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. sleeplessinftedward
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    sleeplessinftedward - December 30, 2009 7:46 am
    Numbsense: Not to beat a dead horse, but you don't have to be Jack McCoy from Law and Order to realize that the employee who saw Sousis on the floor with the handicapped woman's diaper pulled down or the DNA expert witness would have been star witnesses for the prosecution. Did one of these witnesses die in the three years that it took for this plea bargain to be reached. The police did their job--it was Kortright that screwed up.
  2. Watching Out
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    Watching Out - December 30, 2009 7:41 am
    Numbsense: It's not open season on the handicapped. For star witnesses, how about the employee who saw this Sousie on the floor with the victim's diaper pulled down or the DNA expert. This case makes me sick
    Here is a quote from an earlier Post Star article on the case:
    The indictment alleges the assault happened on Dec. 23, 2006, and that the woman could not legally consent to sexual contact because of mental retardation. Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright said DNA tests linked Sousie to the woman. DNA that was found in semen near the woman's genitalia was determined to be his, Kortright said. The mathematical chance it was from someone other than Sousie was about 1 in 1.3 billion, Kortright said.Another employee of the home spotted Sousie on the floor with the woman, whose diaper had been pulled down, he said. Police said the woman is unable to speak. Sousie hid behind a dresser when he was confronted by the co-worker, and when police sought to question him he refuse
  3. poststar44
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    poststar44 - December 30, 2009 7:10 am
    Another screw up for Mr. Kortright. If he had spent as much time working on this case as he did trying to dig up dirt against Rob Winn and his family, maybe it wouldn't have turned out this way. Kortright supporters should be embarrased by this. He should have done "stuff" to help this woman, she is a victim. How does he sleep at night?
  4. numbsense
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    numbsense - December 29, 2009 9:29 pm
    Wait, did I miss something? Who was going to be the star witness at this trial? The mute lady? I think some people watch too much CSI and Law and Order...
  5. sleeplessinftedward
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    sleeplessinftedward - December 29, 2009 9:28 pm
    I wonder what it will take for Kortright to care about a case. If he thinks that masturbating onto a handicapped woman is a defense, then there is a real problem here.
    Lucy123 makes a great point. Minor defendants are crucified while real criminal are given slaps on the wrist.
  6. iratemom
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    iratemom - December 29, 2009 9:26 pm
    This gross injustice is not uncommon tht is another sad story. Our country allows people to abuse the disabled and only get a slap on the wrist at most. My son was brutily beaten by a caregiver from his group home and when finally caught he only spent 8 months in jail. Why is it that monsters that prey on the disabled are treated better then if they had preyed on a dog or a cat? I don't understand our law makers.
  7. hudson
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    hudson - December 29, 2009 7:44 pm
    Isn't an eye witness still an eye witness, why didn't this person get their day in court? If it were me, I would have wanted my chance to tell my side, at least she spoke up when the disabled woman couldn't but who is speeking for the disabled woman now?
  8. chuckwagon3080
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    chuckwagon3080 - December 29, 2009 3:54 pm
    Thank you residents of Washington County for re-electing Kevin Kortright as our DA. Unbelievable! The term "Get away with murder" will probably come true as long as this guy is still around.
  9. bjpull
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    bjpull - December 29, 2009 2:19 pm
    What a break, you mean to tell me the court system is giving out deals like this to pretators like this WOW what a passive court we have in warren county.
  10. lucy123
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    lucy123 - December 29, 2009 11:01 am
    Discusting! Sex crimes are prosecuted very lightly in this area! But lets make sure we keep up the "good work" on all those welfare fraud cases!! WHAT A JOKE!
  11. frozen_caveman_lawyer_bod
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    frozen_caveman_lawyer_bod - December 29, 2009 9:15 am
    so... he admitted to masturbating onto a physically disabled woman, and they give him his job back?? what the hell is wrong with this country?
  12. hadenuf
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    hadenuf - December 28, 2009 7:46 pm
    I am still fuming about this case!...I wonder if he would receive a slap on the wrist if he forced some random woman down on the ground, stripped them both from the waist down and "masterbated" on this random woman. OH! And make it impossible for her to scream out and fight him off. I could just spit I am so furious!~
  13. patriot
    Report Abuse
    patriot - December 28, 2009 5:27 pm
    There are alot of people serving long prision sentences and some even on death row convicted with alot less evidence than that!

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