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Potsdam man sentenced to county jail for sexual abuse; victim’s father says justice not served

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CANTON — An elderly Potsdam man who admitted sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy left the St. Lawrence County courthouse in handcuffs Tuesday after apologizing for hurting his victim and the boy’s family.

James A. Pleau, 71, of 16 Mechanic St., was sentenced to 120 days in the St. Lawrence County jail and 10 years’ probation. He also was ordered to pay $468.60 in restitution and $1,100 in fees and surcharges.

He pleaded guilty Aug. 17 to one count of first-degree attempted sexual abuse, a felony. He allegedly restrained his 13-year-old victim in March and then sexually abused him while the boy was at Pleau’s village of Potsdam home.

Pleau told County Judge Jerome J. Richards he was remorseful.

“I am so sorry this happened. I am so sorry I hurt people,” he said. “I apologize to this court for this action. I need to understand, perhaps not why it happened, but that it won’t happen again. I never want to go through this again. I never want anyone to go through this again.”

The defendant’s attorney, Kevin F. Nichols, Malone, said the incident was an isolated event and not a pattern for Pleau, who does not have a criminal record.

“This was the only time this ever happened. It was one sad, bad thing that happened to this child, and I believe probation is the appropriate sanction,” he said.

The victim’s father was visibly upset with the case’s outcome.

“Justice isn’t served,” he said outside the courtroom. “I think he should spend a lot longer than 120 days in jail and 10 years’ probation. My son is hurting.”

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