ITHACA, N.Y. — Bail was increased in court Tuesday morning for a man accused of sexually abusing two young girls in Danby, a man who is also facing sex crime charges against children in Tioga County.

Matthew Williams, of Candor, is now being held on $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond. He’s charged with felony first-degree sex abuse and two counts each of second-degree kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child. Both victims were 10 years old or younger.

According to court documents, Williams gave both girls alcohol and took them to a wooded area without their parent’s consent.

Assistant District Attorney Diane Lama said the girls reported repeatedly asking to go home, but Williams did not let them.

“The parents had no idea they were out there with him,” Lama said. “Eventually they had to run away from him into the woods.”

She said the girls stayed in the woods alone until 7 a.m. the following day.

Williams posted a $50,000 bond on July 19 after being arrested on the charges in late June. Shortly afterward, was taken into custody in Tioga County. There, he is facing charges for two counts of first-degree criminal sex act and one count of first-degree sex abuse.

Both victims were 10-years-old or younger and one of them is also a complainant in the Tompkins County case.

He has pending indictments on the Tioga County charges and is scheduled to be arraigned there Friday. He’s being held at the Tioga County jail on two bails: $75,000 bail or $150,000 bond and $125,000 or $250,000 bond.

Lama said that due to Williams’ criminal history, which includes other misdemeanors, and the fact that he is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing children, Williams’ bail should be increased in Tompkins County.

“He’s also a substantial flight risk,” she said, noting that he could face decades in jail and have to register as a sex offender if he is convicted.

Williams’ attorney Michael Perehinec disagreed, saying that Williams is not a flight risk. He said Williams is currently employed, must take prescription medication and has close family ties to the community. Three women were in court Tuesday in support of him.

“Bail should never be punitive,” Perehinec said.

Judge John Rowley sided with Lama’s bail recommendation. He, however, is recusing himself from the case because a county employee he knows is involved in it. The other county court judge, Joseph Cassidy, also knows the employee.

Rowley said it would be inappropriate for him to continue with the case after Tuesday, and noted that a new judge will be assigned to the case.

“They can have a fresh look at the bail situation,” he said.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.