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Massena man charged with sexually abusing children remains in jail

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MASSENA - A Massena man charged with sexually abusing two children at his residence was sent back to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail continued at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond following a preliminary hearing in Massena Village Court.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson ruled the evidence presented at the hearing was sufficient to send the case up to superior court for possible grand jury action. Sgt. Adam J. Love and mother of one of the alleged victims testified at the hearing.

Village police charged Gary P. Rousaw, 54, of 89 Woodlawn Ave., Massena, with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child at 10 p.m. Dec. 12 following an investigation into a complaint filed with police on Dec. 7. Police said the charges stem from allegations Rousaw had sexual contact with two females under 10 years of age.

Sgt. Love said Rousaw provided a four-page statement in a question and answer format. He said police also filmed a five-hour interview with the Massena man.

Rousaw admitted in the statement he gets emotionally excited and sexually aroused when he is around pre-pubescent girls. He also allegedly admitted he had sexual contact with the two girls in that interview.

Under questioning from the village police sergeant, Rousaw acknowledged in the statement he had problems around pre-pubescent females and needed help addressing that issue.

Rousaw said police might hear from him as word of the charges circulates. “If people harass me, I will be calling the police for harassment charges,” he said.

Rousaw and his wife, Carolyn, babysit a number of children in their home at no charge for the parents.

Ms. Rousaw told police she keeps a close eye on her husband when he has children on his lap.

“I make sure Gary’s hands are where his hands are suppose to be in case there is another allegation against him. I had a feeling this was going to happen because of the way she was acting and jumping on Gary. There have been other allegations against Gary for the same thing, but they were unfounded,” she told police.

The only other witness at the preliminary was the mother of one of the alleged victims. She was asked one question, the date of birth of her daughter.

Following the testimony, defense attorney Edward F. Narrow argued that since prosecutors hadn’t entered testimony that proved the defendant’s age was over 21 prosecutors had failed to meet the element necessary to sustain the felony charge.

St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Andrew T. Botts pointed to a different section of the law that only requires prosecutors to prove the alleged victim’s age was under 11 years of age.

Mr. Gustafson ruled the evidence presented at the hearing gave reasonable cause to believe a felony had been committed and that Rousaw committed the crime.

Mr. Narrow urged the court to reduce Rousaw’s bail. “He has resided in Massena for at least 15 years. His wife and brother live here. He has no criminal history. The presumption of innocence still applies. I would ask the court to reduce the bail to $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond or to release him under the supervision of the probation department. I see no reason to hold the defendant,” he argued.

Mr. Botts countered the bail was appropriate at $25,000 cash, pointing to the seriousness of the offense. “There is an entry in the narrative that he was a suspect in a similar case in 2010. The victim in that case was so young the case was found to be unprosecutable. Now we have this new allegation with two victims,” he pointed out.

The village justice ruled bail would continue at $25,000 cash. “One of the things that the statute directs is that I look at the seriousness of the offense and the quality of the evidence. I think the current securing order is appropriate,” Mr. Gustafson said.

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