Junius man takes plea deal for groping girl

A Junius man accused of groping a girl, but claiming to have no memory of it due to a medical condition, took a plea deal Monday in Seneca County Court.

John Valder, 59, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted sexual abuse. The charge is a class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

Valder was arrested in March by sheriff’s investigators for forcibly touching a girl under 16 in a sexual manner. He was also charged with forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.

Valder was sentenced by acting county Judge Rick Healy to 21 days in jail and 10 years of probation. He will have to register as a sex offender.

Valder’s attorney, Joe Sapio, said in court that his client can’t remember the incident due to a diabetic blackout. He took the deal under an Alford plea, where a defendant doesn’t admit to a crime but concedes he could be convicted at trial.

Sapio said Valder is not prepared to contest the allegations and subject the victim to testifying at a trial. Sapio added that Valder has apologized to the girl.

Healy also signed a court order of protection, barring Valder from having any contact with the victim — in person or by electronic means — for eight years. The judge warned Valder that if he violates the order or terms of his probation, he could be sentenced to prison.

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