LOCKPORT — A Depew man who has already pleaded guilty to Pennsylvania state charges in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a North Tonawanda teen, and who faces federal sex crime charges, has been indicted by a Niagara County grand jury on rape and related charges.
Michael Mesko, 51, was charged by the grand jury with two counts of second-degree rape, three counts of second-degree criminal sex act, second-degree kidnapping and second-degree criminal contempt in an indictment unsealed on Tuesday. Mesko pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment in State Supreme Court in Lockport.
He remains jailed, without bail, under an order issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Roemer. Mesko has been charged in a federal criminal complaint with enticement of a minor and production of child sexual abuse material.
Those charges carry a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life behind bars. He has pleaded not guilty in the federal case as well.
In a federal court filing on July 20, an assistant federal public defender asked for a 60 day delay in scheduled hearings for Mesko, indicating that he is “engaged in ongoing plea negotiations” with federal prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office.
During a preliminary hearing in Venango County(Pennsylvania) Court, on Feb. 24, Mesko pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance and criminal mischief after prosecutors there withdrew seven other charges, including counts of endangering welfare of children, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer and driving at an unsafe speed.
Mesko was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police after they encountered him on Feb. 16 at a rest stop just off Interstate 80 near Harrisville, Pennsylvania. He had been the subject of a multi-state Amber Alert, issued the previous night by North Tonawanda police.
North Tonawanda Police detectives said at the time of the Amber Alert that they were working with agents from the Buffalo field office of the FBI to investigate the abduction of a 17-year-old girl. Agents assigned to the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force said they first began looking into Mesko’s activities after NTPD detectives arrested him Feb. 4 on claims that he had been engaging in repeated sexual acts with the teenage kidnapping victim.
Mesko was charged with rape at that time, but was released from custody after Niagara County prosecutors decided not to hold a preliminary hearing and instead chose to take their evidence to a grand jury. An order of protection, barring Mesko from contact with his victim, was also issued at that time.
Court records in Pennsylvania do not indicate if Mesko has been sentenced for his guilty pleas there or what potential sentences he may face.