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I think the jury paid close, careful attention to the proof as it came in. -Prosecutor Jack Delehanty

Scaringe guilty, plans appeal

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The former director of a youth center in Saranac Lake was found guilty of second-degree rape, second-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child on Wednesday. The unanimous verdicts against Michael Scaringe came after roughly six hours of deliberations in the high-profile case by a Franklin County Court jury.

Scaringe was arrested in January 2010 on charges that he raped a then-13-year-old girl, whom he met through the youth center, in December 2009. At the time, Scaringe was 61. As Chris Knight reports, he now faces a maximum of seven years behind bars.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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Scaringe sat with his hands folded in front of himself and showed no emotion as the guilty verdicts were read. A few minutes later, he was handcuffed and taken to the county jail in Malone where he’ll await sentencing.

Franklin County prosecutor Jack Delehanty said justice was done. “I think the jury paid close, careful attention to the proof as it came in,” Delehanty said after the verdict was read. “I think they listened to the testimony of the witnesses that we called, and I believe they carefully followed the judge’s instructions and did justice today.”

More than two dozen witnesses testified over the course of the eight-day trial. The defense repeatedly attacked the credibility of the victim, who initially lied to police and said she was forcibly raped, and the lack of hard physical evidence in the case. The prosecution characterized Scaringe as a child sexual predator who groomed, bought gifts for and otherwise took advantage of a troubled young girl.

The prosecution also called to the stand four women who said Scaringe had sexually abused them in the 1970s when he was a music teacher in Tupper Lake. Mary Rain, Scaringe’s defense attorney, thinks that the testimony had an undue influence on the jury’s decision. She said, “When you hear from four other people saying they were assaulted by someone, and then you have someone who also says, ‘I was assaulted by that same person,’ I don’t think any jury is going to be able to get beyond that, even though the court instructed them to do that. I don’t think that happened."

Rain said an appeal is planned. Scaringe faces a minimum of two years and a maximum of seven years in prison when he’s sentenced on Wednesday, August 1.

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