ITHACA, N.Y. — A deadlocked jury found a Groton man guilty of two out of three charges in a child sex abuse case.
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Howard Leonard, 67, was found guilty of felony first-degree attempted sexual abuse and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. Jurors could not come to a unanimous decision on whether Leonard was guilty of felony first-degree sexual abuse.
Leonard sexually abused a 13-year-old girl he knew while she was at his home some time in January or February 2014. She reported the crime in August 2014 and charges were filed against Leonard shortly afterward.
Throughout the trial, the jury heard from the victim, Leonard, police and family members and friends who lived in the home where the abuse happened.
“It ruined her life,” Assistant District Attorney Wendy Franklin said about the abuse during closing statements.
As for the felony first-degree sexual abuse charge, lawyers can choose to take Leonard to a new trial to determine whether he is guilty.
Judge John Rowley said a course of action will be decided at a later date.
Franklin asked for Leonard to be taken into custody on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.
His attorney, Richard Van Donsel, argued that his client should remain out on bail until his sentencing.
“There’s no more or less of a flight risk,” Van Donsel said, despite the verdict.
Rowely, however, agreed with Franklin’s suggestion for bail.
“I think that the defendant’s status has fundamentally changed,” he said.
Leonard will be sentenced on Jan. 8.
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