Ogdensburg man pleads guilty to attempted sexual abuse count
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012
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By RYNE R. MARTIN
CANTON- An Ogdensburg man accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl in July was sent back to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility without bail after pleading guilty to a reduced count in St. Lawrence County Court.
Joshua A. Petell, 25, of 4 Mill St., Apt. A, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted sexual abuse in a plea bargain agreement that calls for him to be sentenced to no worse than a split sentence of six months in the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility and probation. He was represented by attorney Mary E. Rain.
He had been indicted for felony first-degree sexual abuse. Petell was accused of inappropriately touching a 7-year-old girl July 22 in the city of Ogdensburg.
“I was drawing tattoos on her leg, and my left hand touched her vaginal area,” Petell said during the arraignment, admitting the sexual contract was made for his own sexual gratification.
St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards directed the probation department to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Dec. 10.
Ms. Rain asked the court to release Petell from custody and place him under probation supervision. She said he had been incarcerated for a little over 70 days and if he remained at the jail until sentencing he would be past the maximum promised sentenced with his good time benefits. A defendant serving a 180-day jail sentence is eligible for release with good time credit after serving 120 days.
St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker urged the court to send Petell back to the county jail with bail continued at $10,000, suggesting there had been no substantial changes to merit his release from jail.
Ms. Rain said her client is receiving counseling assistance and argued Mr. Becker’s argument lacked merit.“The substantial change in his circumstances is he has pleaded guilty. He has lived here all of his life,” she noted.
After a brief conference at the bench with a probation department representative, Judge Richards sent Petell back to the county jail with no bail set pending sentencing.