ITHACA, N.Y. –– The man charged with sexually abusing a minor in October has been sentenced to 6 months local incarceration, and 10 years probation following lock-up.

Remanu J. Phillips, 29, of Newfield, was charged, and pled guilty to first-degree felony sexual abuse back in the fall of 2019. Phillips is a local musician, having performed under the names Remanu Panther and Remanu Steele; as well as former staffer at the New Roots Charter School.

According to the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, the charge was following a complaint that an adult was having sexual contact with a child younger than 11. Following an investigation, Phillips told law enforcement that the abuse had been going on for more than 4 months.

Phillips was sentenced at the Tompkins County courthouse by Judge John Rowley.

“What I did was unjustifiable,” Phillips said in court Friday. “I will do everything in my power to provide restitution and atone for my wrongdoings.”

The prosecuting attorney asked Judge Rowley to sentence Phillips to five years in state prison, with 10 years probation.

Despite referring to Phillips’ behavior as “disturbing,” Rowley declined the prison sentence, citing Phillips forthcomingness during the investigation, and subsequent court proceedings in his decision.

As part of the terms of sentencing, Phillips must register as a sex offender, complete sex offender compliance court, treatment and polygraph testing. He also has a no contact order with children under 18, and an order of protection from the child he abused, their siblings and the mother of the child.

If Phillips violates any of the terms of his sentencing, the maximum sentence for the crime is 7 years incarceration, followed by 10 years probation.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at