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Winthrop man designated Level 2 sex offender over sex act with handicapped child

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CANTON — The man who was sentenced to 10 years of probation for performing oral sex on a 13-year-old handicapped girl will have to register as a sex offender for life.

St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards classified Michael A. Francis Sr., 56, of 292 Mahoney Road, Winthrop, as a Level 2 sex offender Monday afternoon in a risk-assessment hearing in St. Lawrence County Court.

In addition to his July 8 sentence to probation, Francis was sentenced to 120 days in jail on weekends for his conviction of second-degree attempted criminal sex act, a class E felony.

Francis’s attorney, Charles B. Nash, told the judge that the victim was reported as having “emotional” disorders, not problems that could be considered learning disabilities according to Penal Law Article 130.

Judge Richards, however, said that in subsection 5 of that law, mentally disabled is defined as a person who suffers from a mental disease or defect that renders him or her incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.

The judge said the victim in this case had social and emotional delays that caused her to function “like a latency-aged child,” causing her to be mentally incapacitated and unable to consent.

During Francis’s sentencing, Judge Richards expressed his disgust of the situation.

The judge said that information on the child’s mental health was not made available when he was making his judgment and that if it had been, Francis would be facing a much longer sentence in a state penitentiary instead of probation and weekend jail time.

Francis does not fit any of the designations on the assessment instrument that would classify him a sexual predator, sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender.

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