Sunday, November 28, 2010

Teacher sentenced

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101119/NEWS/11190364/-1/SITEMAP

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Joshua DiMeo, right, listens to his lawyer, Charles Olsen, in Sullivan County Court in Monticello Thursday. DiMeo, 21, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of first-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor, a felony, and second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor.
TOM BUSHEY/Times Herald-Record
By Victor Whitman
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 11/19/10
MONTICELLO — A former gym teacher at Liberty's Light & Life Christian School was led out of Sullivan County Court on Thursday handcuffed behind his back and bound for state prison after he was sentenced for sending an obscene photo to an underage girl last spring and fondling another girl.

Joshua DiMeo, 21, showed little emotion before Judge Frank LaBuda sentenced him on charges of first-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor, a felony, and second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor.

"Really, I am sorry for what I did," said DiMeo, his only comment.

"I am sorry for you," replied LaBuda, "because what you did hurt not only "» the two young girls but it hurt yourself, it hurt the school, it hurt many people associated with you and the good work that they and the school and ministry do."

DiMeo pleaded guilty in August in exchange for a plea deal that called for a three-year prison sentence on the felony. He was sentenced to one year on the misdemeanor to run concurrently. He will also be put on 10 years' parole upon release and have to register as a sex offender.

The girls, both 13, were students at the school, which was affiliated with the Liberty Free Methodist Church and closed because of the notoriety surrounding the case. DiMeo had known the girls for about two years.

On April 1, sheriff's detectives met DiMeo at the door of the Liberty home of the girl to whom he'd sent the obscene message. He admitted that he believed she was alone and intended to have sexual contact with her. DiMeo sent a cell phone picture of his penis, and wrote that he "wanted to see her naked" and also several graphic comments of what he wanted to do with her sexually.

DiMeo had no prior criminal record, not even a traffic ticket. While LaBuda advised him in August to turn himself into jail early, DiMeo chose to stay out on bail until his sentencing, and attend counseling.

"I think it is a sad day for the community, the victims and my client," DiMeo's lawyer, Charles Olsen, said. "I hope from this point forward he'll take whatever the Department of Corrections will offer him, so upon his release he can come back and be a productive member of society."

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