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Winthrop-area man pleads guilty to sex crime; Donnelly heads to prison


CANTON — A Winthrop man admitted in St. Lawrence County Court Monday morning to performing oral sex on a female under the age of 15.

Michael A. Francis Sr., 292 Mahoney Road, was 55 at the time of the incident late last year in the town of Stockholm. He pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted criminal sex act, a class E felony.

Francis is scheduled to be sentenced June 17, with a hearing on his sex-offender classification set for June 21.

State police arrested Francis on Dec. 30, and he initially was committed to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility. He is to remain free under probation supervision pending sentencing.

The teenage victim told troopers she believed she had blacked out when the incident took place. Another teenager reportedly walked in on Francis and the girl, reported the incident to an adult and that adult contacted state police. The victim said Francis had started getting much friendlier with her in recent weeks after he split up with his girlfriend. She said he had given her $50, bought her Christmas presents and asked her to be his girlfriend.

Once Monday’s plea rendered Francis a felon, Judge Jerome J. Richards asked if he owned any weapons.

“A shotgun, a couple rifles,” Francis replied.

The judge advised Francis that he was to get rid of those weapons immediately. “And you can’t give them to a relative to hold on to,” the judge warned. “They must be legally disposed of.”

In other court action on Monday:

■ Robert J. Donnelly, 31, of 49 Brighton St., Massena, was sentenced to state prison in connection with two December 2011 burglaries and a jailhouse assault.

Mr. Donnelly was involved in an $1,100 theft at the Potsdam Moose Lodge on Dec. 2, 2011, and four days later he stole electronics and shampoo from Walmart in Potsdam.

While in the county jail, he “paid off a drug debt” by punching another man in the face, Judge Richards said.

“I know what I did was wrong,” said Mr. Donnelly, who entered guilty pleas in all three cases during a Jan. 2 appearance, yet felt prosecutors were singling him out for a crime he said is common in the jail.

“It seems like they pick and choose,” he said of the assault charge.

“That’s the prosecutor’s discretion,” the judge replied. “Mr. Donnelly, they think you’re more of a bad guy than the others.”

For second-degree assault, a class D violent felony, Mr. Donnelly is to serve five years in prison plus five years of post-release supervision. For fourth-degree grand larceny he received two-to-four years, and for third-degree burglary he will serve three-to-six years, with the sentences running concurrently. He also must pay more than $5,600 in restitution and more than $1,100 in fines and fees.

■ Barbra J. Goodreau, Massena, was sentenced to two consecutive one-year terms in county jail following guilty pleas in connection with a bad-check case and theft of a television and jewelry from her mother’s home.

Ms. Goodreau, who was 33 at the time of arrest in April, also must pay more than $6,000 in restitution and $750 in fines and fees.

“I’m on really good terms with my family now and I just want to do the right thing,” Ms. Goodreau told the judge.

■ Travis J. Nelson, 32, of 15 Madrid Ave., Potsdam, pleaded not guilty to DWI charges.

Mr. Nelson was arrested Oct. 28 for allegedly operating a 2006 Ford on Maple Street in Potsdam with a BAC of 0.21 percent.

A grand jury indicted him on one count of aggravated DWI and two counts of DWI.

Mr. Nelson had a previous misdemeanor DWI conviction in 2009, prosecutors said. Assistant District Attorney Andrew T. Botts said the people are prepared for trial.

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