Man drove five hours to meet teen he met online
STAR JOURNAL STAFF
A Hartford man will spend eight years in prison, followed by seven years extended supervision 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 charge Feb. 14; a charge of second degree sexual assault of a child was dismissed but read into the record.
Prior to Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bloom handing down the sentence Weiss used his right to address the court. In his nine-minute speech, Weiss requested a light sentence due to serious health concerns, said he would find work and be rehabilitated better outside of prison, and also appeared to defend some of his actions.
“This was a communication on an adult chat site,” Weiss said. “I had no reason not to believe that she was 18. She wasn’t only communicating with me; she was communicating with numerous men on that site.”
Weiss added that he is “very sorry,” and was “taking responsibility for it by not going to trial.”
Bloom stated he was required to take into sentencing consideration the gravity of the offense, the character of the defendant, and protection of the public.
“The character of Mr. Weiss,” Bloom said, “As indicated by what he has undisputedly done in combination with the manner in which he has chosen to respond to this criminal prosecution, suggests a disconnect between what occurs in his mind and what occurs out in the real world. “
According to court records, the girl said she was assaulted at her residence in early October, and reported communicating with a male subject online and by setting up a meeting at her house. She also stated there was an agreement to engage in sexual activity with the subject identified as “Keegan,” whom she advised in a computer message that she was 14 years old.
Shortly after calling him when he was in the area, Weiss showed up at her residence and let himself in. A sheriff’s department report describes some of the sexual contact alleged to have taken place, and indicates after a few minutes the girl asked Weiss to leave, which 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 prosecutor misconduct and Weiss was not tried again.