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2017-09-13 / Front Page

Accused and Acquitted

Downsville Man Not Guilty of Alleged Sex Crimes
By Lillian Browne

DELHI - A Downsville man was cleared of sex crime charges by a jury of his peers in Delaware County Court on Thursday, Sept. 7 in just over an hour of deliberations. That, defense attorney James Hartmann of Delhi said, speaks volumes about the evidence.

There was none, Hartmann said - except the accusation of an 18-year old male, who said Gary L. Haynes, 60, restrained him and forcibly engaged him in anal sex when he was 13 years old, in 2012, and an accusation by another male who claims he was forced to engage in oral sex with Haynes in January and then again in March, 2016.

Haynes was charged in October 2016 with one count of first-degree criminal sexual act, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, one count of second-degree unlawful imprisonment, and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual act as a result of the accusations.

The seriousness of the accusations against Haynes devastated his family and shocked his community, Hartmann said.

Haynes has maintained his innocence from his arrest to his not guilty plea in early November 2016, to the witness stand last Thursday.

It was not just Haynes’ testimony that helped the jury to arrive at a finding of not guilty, it was the testimonial evidence and documentation presented by two other witnesses for the defense.

Haynes could not have committed the crimes he was accused of because he was out-of-state, in Kentucky, working, during the 2012 time frame, and was an in-patient in Wilson Hospital in Broome County, in a diabetic coma, during the 2016 time frame, Hartmann said.

The travesty of the matter, Hartmann said, is that the case should have never gone to trial.

Both accusers testified under oath, on Wednesday, that the incidents occurred. However, Hartmann called alibi witnesses and provided documentation as to Haynes’ whereabouts during the dates the crimes were said to have occurred, which refuted their testimony.

In light of the evidence, which was provided to Delaware County District Attorney John Hubbard prior to the trial, the case should have never gone to trial, Hartmann said.

When asked if the accusers lied, Hartmann said “yes.” The boy’s father found male same-sex pornography on his cellular device and in Hartmann’s words “went ballistic.” Instead of telling the truth about why the pornography was on the device, the child instead accused Haynes of sex crimes against him as a reason for the pornography. The child could not face his father’s wrath, Hartmann said.

The second accuser, Hartmann said, was previously adjudicated as a sex offender and is nothing more than an “attention seeker.” He was known in the Downsville community to be a liar and a thief, Hartmann said.

How did the case go this far? Hartmann said that although New York State Police investigators followed proper procedure and protocol in their investigation, that it is doubtful whether Colchester Police did. There are doubts in his mind as to whether the department’s officer who handled the case, Rich Pagillo, had an ulterior motive, Hartmann said.

The “heinous” accusations have devastated Haynes, Hartmann said. “His reputation is tarnished. I don’t know how you can un-ring the bell. To be charged with something - especially of this nature, is horrible,” Hartmann said. “It’s a horrible thing to be accused of a crime you didn’t commit.”

What’s even scarier is that the case was pursued with no forensic evidence, Hartmann said. The prosecution of this case was not well thought out, Hartmann said.

“The jury spoke,” Hubbard said, “and I abide by that and respect their decision.”

Despite the not guilty verdict, Hubbard does not want victims of sex crimes, whether they are children or adults, to be deterred from reporting a crime.

“Any victim of sexual assault, anywhere, should report it,” Hubbard said.

The charges were dismissed and the case was sealed, which in layman’s terms, means it never happened - not the crime, the arrest or the trial.

Other than media coverage and the lives that were effected by the allegations, there will be no record of the case.

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