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Massena man denied mental health evaluation in police assault

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CANTON — A Gouverneur man was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for sexually abusing a girl under the age of 13.

Robert S. Webb, 50, of 4967 Route 58, Gouverneur, pleaded guilty in May to one count of first-degree sexual abuse, a class D violent felony.

Webb, a previous sex offender, had sexual contact with a girl under the age of 13 in the town of Potsdam last summer.

He also will be subject to 10 years of post-release supervision and an HIV testing order, and is ordered to pay $1,425 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

He was sentenced by Judge Jerome J. Richards in St. Lawrence County Court.

In 1996, Webb was sentenced to 180 days in jail after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree sexual abuse of a 6-year-old girl.

Also in court Monday:

Robert J. Warren Jr., 49, a St. Lawrence County jail inmate, made a motion requesting that the judge and the district attorney’s office recuse themselves from his case due to an alleged conflict.

Warren, a registered sex offender who is being held on second-degree burglary and petit larceny charges, said Judge Richards was St. Lawrence County district attorney in late 1999 when he sent a letter to corrections officials to “deal with Warren when he engaged in acts that violated his probation.”

There has been no written response from the district attorney’s office in the matter.

Mr. Warren told Judge Richards that he didn’t believe the judge could be fair and impartial since he was the district attorney trying him in the 1990s.

“You asked for the maximum sentence,” Mr. Warren said. “You are being vindictive. You said you haven’t had dealings with me since 1996 or 1997, and this letter came in 1999.”

Judge Richards said he will issue a written decision regarding the motion.

“Who is going to make the ruling on the motion to recuse yourself? Is that you?” Mr. Warren asked.

“That’s right,” Judge Richards said.

“That’s absurd. I just want to put that on the record. That’s absurd,” Mr. Warren said.

Andrew D. Stiles, 31, Canton, was placed on one year of interim probation after pleading guilty on May 20 to fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony.

Mr. Stiles improperly collected more than $18,000 in unemployment benefits from April 2009 to March 2012 while working at another job.

Judge Richards adjourned sentencing to Aug. 4, 2014, and ordered Mr. Stiles to pay $18,592.75 in restitution.

Donald A. Dobbs III, 26, of 11 Grove St. Ogdensburg, vacated his May 23 guilty plea to third-degree criminal mischief, a class E felony, and was re-arraigned on a lesser charge of second-degree criminal mischief, a class D felony, to which he pleaded not guilty in order to apply for the Judicial Diversion Program.

Mr. Dobbs’s attorney, Benjamin G. Johns, said his client had a substance abuse problem and is currently in outpatient treatment. If Mr. Dobbs is accepted into the diversion program and he completes treatment successfully, he will avoid prison time.

Judge Richards adjourned sentencing to Sept. 26 and released Mr. Dobbs under probation supervision.

Robert D., 32, and Heather S. Leeson, 31, of 443 Belmont Courts, Ogdensburg, both pleaded not guilty to possession or transportation of unstamped cigarettes, a class E felony.

The defendants were allegedly in possession of 10,080 individual, untaxed cigarettes, according to Ogdensburg police.

Mr. Leeson tested positive for marijuana in court Monday and was released under probation supervision.

Mrs. Leeson’s drug test came back negative and she was released on her own recognizance.

Jesse G. Austin, 34, of 212 Montgomery St., appeared on a bench warrant Monday morning after he failed to report to St. Lawrence County Probation Department as directed by Judge Richards last month.

Probation officers reported to Judge Richards that Mr. Austin did not appear for scheduled appointments and gave a number where he could not be reached.

Mr. Austin is being charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony, and nine counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, also a class D felony, for allegedly stealing more than $17,000 in checks from the Rev. Edward E. Papp.

Mr. Austin said he misunderstood the directions for reporting to probation.

“I told you that you had to report to probation on your arraignment,” Judge Richards said. “What I see is someone who doesn’t think he has to comply with the rules.”

Mr. Austin denied the accusation and the judge asked him to prove it to the court and released him under continued probation supervision.

Erika Shrader, 24, of 312 Knox St., Apt. 3, Ogdensburg, was remanded to jail after pleading not guilty to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both class B felonies.

Ms. Shrader is accused of dealing crack cocaine and allowing other crack dealers to operate from her home.

Judge Richards remanded Ms. Shrader to St. Lawrence County jail without bail after she returned from a drug test in which she tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Stanley E. Stephenson Jr., 41, of 1423 Old Market Rd., Norwood, was placed on one year of interim probation after a Nov. 28, 2012, guilty plea to a felony driving while intoxicated charge.

Mr. Stephenson had gone through treatment and he told Judge Richards that he left the “fog” that he had lived in behind him.

Judge Richards said the system wasn’t so ridged that it didn’t work with individuals that made a conscious effort to make positive changes in their life.

Mr. Stephenson’s interim probation expires on Aug. 18, 2014.

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