Hartford man sentenced in Oneida County
Man drove five hours to meet teenager he met online
STAR JOURNAL STAFF
A Hartford man will spend eight years in prison, followed by seven years in extended custody for using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. Robert H. Weiss, 52, was arrested last fall for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Hazelhurst girl he contacted online. He pleaded guilty to the prosecution on February 14; a charge of second degree sexual assault on a child was dismissed but on file.
Before Judge Michael Bloom of the Oneida County Circuit Court handed down the sentence, Weiss used his right to address the court. In his nine-minute speech, Weiss called for a light sentence due to serious health concerns, said he would find work and be better rehabilitated outside of prison, and also appeared to defend some of his actions.
“It was a communication on an adult chat site,” Weiss said. “I had no reason not to believe she was 18. She didn’t just communicate with me; she communicated with many men on this site.
Weiss added that he was “very sorry” and that he “took responsibility for it by not going to trial.”
Bloom said he had to take sentencing into account the seriousness of the offense, the character of the defendant and the protection of the public.
“The character of Mr. Weiss,” Bloom said, “as indicated by what he has unmistakably done in combination with the manner in which he has chosen to respond to this criminal prosecution, suggests a mismatch between what is happening in his mind and what’s going on. in the real world. “
According to court records, the girl said she was assaulted at her home in early October and said she communicated with a male subject online and by setting up a meeting at her home. She also said there was an agreement to engage in sexual activity with the subject identified as “Keegan,” whom she informed in a computer message that she was 14 years old.
Shortly after calling him while he was in the area, Weiss showed up at his residence and let himself in. A sheriff’s report describes some of the alleged sexual contact to have taken place and states that after a few minutes the girl asked Weiss to leave. , what he did.
Weiss was convicted in 2004 in Washington County of second-degree sexual assault of a child, but after serving four years in prison, the conviction was overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct and Weiss was not tried again.