PAUL SMITHS - A local man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for having sex with two girls - both under 13 years old at the time - over the course of several years.
Elwood Adams Jr., 40, of Paul Smiths, had been facing up to 50 years for the charges on which he was convicted, since each of the two counts was eligible for up to 25 years and could have been served consecutively.
But acting Franklin County Judge Felix J. Catena decided earlier this month to sentence Adams to two 20-year sentences to run concurrently.
"While the sentence was not as lengthy as we had desired, Mr. Adams is off the streets, and I am thankful for the jurors sorting through Mr. Adams' web of deception and manipulation of two children (in) reaching their verdict," county District Attorney Derek Champagne said in a press release.
Adams was convicted in April of two counts of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a class B felony. Each count means Adams engaged in two or more sexual acts, and at least one act of sexual intercourse, with a child younger than 13. In Adams' case, the acts of sexual intercourse were oral, said Assistant District Attorney David Hayes, who prosecuted the case with Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Crawford.
The abuse took place in the town of Brighton and had been ongoing for several years. Adams knew the girls through an acquaintance. He was arrested in May 2012 after a three-week investigation by state police, the county district attorney's office and county Child Protective Services.
His conviction came after three days of testimony from the two victims, state police Investigator Sean Finn and an expert in interfamilial child sex abuse syndrome, Dr. Donald Lewites.
Hayes said it was difficult for the girls to testify.
"Both girls were very stoic on the stand," he said. "They were just trying to get through the testimony."
When one of them finished, "she just fell into her mom's arms and was just bawling," Hayes said. "It was tough. It was a tough experience for them, without a doubt. And it was tough for me to have to have them talk about it in front of strangers."
Hayes said in a press release he is pleased with the sentence and hopes it will provide some degree of closure for Adams' two victims.
Adams will have to register as a sex offender, and he was also sentenced to 20 years of post-release supervision on each count.