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Massena man has sex abuse charge dismissed

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MASSENA - A 58-year-old Massena man charged with sexually abusing a woman in a bedroom where her children were sleeping had his charges dismissed in Massena Village Court.

Village police had charged Thomas J. Chapman of 102 Water St., Massena, with first-degree aggravated sexual abuse by compulsion and committing a first-degree criminal sexual act following an investigation into an incident that reportedly took place at 3 a.m. April 14 and was reported after the alleged female victim was hospitalized for injuries she suffered in the attack. The allegations include a deviant sex act and the use of a foreign object.

Prosecutors had filed a motion in October to have the felonies reduced to misdemeanors and returned to local court. The motion reduced the felony counts to misdemeanor charges of third-degree sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Andrew T. Botts made a motion in village court this week seeking to have the charges against Mr. Chapman dismissed in the interest of justice. He said the motion was based on concerns about the credibility of the alleged victim.

Mr. Botts said he discussed the case with Massena Village Police Investigator Joseph Brown Tuesday morning and learned the woman had falsely reported an incident that sparked a response from law enforcement officials within a 50-mile radius.

“This case boils down to the defendant’s word against vs. the victim’s word. This raises serious doubts,” he added.

Defense attorney Edward Narrow said he had discussed the case with Mr. Botts. “I’m certainly not going to oppose that oral motion,” he said.

Massena Acting Village Justice James M. Crandall granted the motion. “Stay out of trouble,” he told Mr. Chapman.

The charge alleged Mr. Chapman and his girlfriend reportedly spent the night at the victim’s residence, and Mr. Chapman was charged with assaulting the woman in her late 20s while his girlfriend was sleeping after taking medication.

The female had alleged Mr. Chapman entered her bedroom three times during the course of the night and sexually assaulted her on each occasion. She said she didn’t yell out because her children were sleeping in the same room, and she didn’t want them to wake up and find her being assaulted.

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