CANTON - A Belleville man confessed Tuesday in St. Lawrence County Court to having oral sex with a 9-year-old girl in the spring of 2007.
Andrew Ayen, 23, of 8143 Route 289, pleaded guilty before Judge Jerome J. Richards to attempted first-degree criminal sexual act as jury selection for his trial was to begin, Assistant District Attorney Victoria M. Esposito said. The plea agreement calls for him to receive seven years in state prison and five years' parole when sentenced July 19.
Mr. Ayen was charged with predatory sexual assault against a child, third-degree intimidating a witness and child endangerment. He was accused of having sex with a girl younger than 11 in 2007 and 2008 in the town of Morristown.
Defense attorney Seth B. Buchman, Three Mile Bay, representing Mr. Ayen, said his client accepted the plea deal to avoid a potential prison sentence of 25 years to life.
"I think Andrew really wanted to go to trial, but he took a good deal because it was so sweet," Mr. Buchman said.
Mr. Ayen will have to register as a sex offender when released from prison. A protection order was issued for the girl.
The plea deal also covered uncharged sex crimes dealing with the girl in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, attorneys said.
In September, Ayen had trouble responding to questions posed by the judge in determining whether to accept the guilty plea.
The agreement called for him to plead guilty to attempted first-degree criminal sexual act and he could have received up to nine years in state prison when sentenced.
Ms. Esposito said Ayen later was found to be competent to stand trial.