Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 13, 2012

Sexual offender a court no show

BY JOE OLENICK, joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Despite his absence in Niagara County Court on Tuesday, Willie Fulton was classified as a level 3 sexual offender anyway.

Fulton was supposed to appear before Judge Sara S. Farkas for a Sexual Offender Registration Act hearing to determine his classification, but he never showed up. Farkas said the hearing could continue without Fulton, after numerous attempts to contact him were unsuccessful, despite he lists a Lockport address. Farkas added the court was unable to issue a bench warrant for Fulton. 

On the sexual offender risk assessment, the instrument that rates how much of a risk an offender is to repeat a crime, Fulton scored 110 points. Someone who scores that high is classified a level 3 offender, the most serious of SORA levels.

”He’s had an extensive history in Florida,” Farkas said.

During his time in Florida, Fulton, 52, was convicted for sexual battery in December 1993 and served a five-year prison sentence. In July of 1993, Fulton had grabbed a 45-year-old woman and dragged her away, threatening to slit her throat or harm her family if she didn’t cooperate. Eventually, people passing by distracted Fulton enough, the victim got away. Later, when Fulton was arrested for an unrelated burglary, the victim identified him.

Fulton had nine incidents while incarcerated and four other sexual offense charges that were dismissed. He moved to Erie County in 2011.

In another case before Farkas, Robert N. Sweitzer, 33, admitted to violating probation. Sweitzer pleaded guilty to second-degree child endangerment and sexual abuse back in 2009, both class A misdemeanors. He was placed on six years probation.

Sweitzer violated probation in April when police stopped Sweitzer and he did not report it to his probation officer. Police also reported Sweitzer was out past curfew, was riding in the vehicle with two convicted felons and had spent about 30 minutes that night at Casa Montego, a local bar and strip club. 

Farkas said Sweitzer could see prison time of a one-year for each charge. He will be sentenced Aug. 22.

In a drug case before Farkas, Aaron Wagner, Minnick Road, Lockport, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class E non-violent drug felony. He will be sentenced Sept. 25 and could be looking at up to one and one and a half years in prison.

Wagner admitted to trying to sell Suboxone last September in Wilson. His fiancee, Victoria R. Russell, was accepted into the judicial drug diversion program on Monday.

Russell pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class C non-violent felony. She admitted to selling Suboxone last July in Wilson.

If she succeeds in the diversion program, she’ll be placed on probation. Failure would likely lead to a prison sentence.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.