Falso sentenced to 30 years
Misha T. Kwasniewski/staff photographer
David Falso leaves the Binghampton Federal Courthouse with a U.S. marshall after being sentencing this morning to as many as 30 years in prison for child pornography charges.
BINGHAMTON — A Cortland bar owner will serve up to 30 years in federal prison after being sentenced this morning in U.S. District Court in Binghamton for possessing and distributing child pornography.
David Falso, 65, of 20 Peaceful Drive, Cortland, pleaded guilty Feb. 1 to 242 federal charges relating to child pornography.
Miro Lovric, assistant U.S. attorney in Binghamton, said Falso could have faced up to 50 years in prison. Falso has been held without bail in Broome County Jail since June 8.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy sentenced Falso this morning up to 30 years on 241 of the charges and up to 20 years on a final charge, all to be served concurrently.
McAvoy also fined Falso nearly $50,000 and ordered him to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
The sentences could have ranged from 25 to 50 years and Falso’s lawyer, Thomas Saitta of Binghamton, argued that his client should receive some leniency because he had accepted responsibility for his actions when he pleaded guilty to all 242 counts.
“I think the 25-year maximum would be sufficient for the crimes he committed, admitted to and the basis of the conviction,” Saitta said.
Lovric argued it was not enough that Falso pleaded guilty because it does not show he has remorse for the crimes he committed.
“Our position is that merely by pleading, he has not accepted responsibility,” Lovric said. “I believe his plea was a mechanism to go to the next process.”
Saitta said after the sentencing he is going to file an appeal. The appeal, Lovric said, will be based on a January ruling when McAvoy allowed statements and evidence Falso made and gave to federal agents before he was arrested.
Falso’s case was scheduled to go to trial Feb. 6. Saitta argued the statements should be removed from evidence because Falso was never read his Miranda rights and was unaware he did not have to talk to FBI agents without first consulting an attorney.
Without the statements and the evidence, there would be no case, and that is what Saitta will appeal, Lovric said.
McAvoy instructed Saitta he has 10 days to file the appeal.
Prior to the sentencing, Lovric read a letter from a 13-year-old girl Lovric said was a stranger to Falso but was harmed by his interest in child pornography.
Falso downloaded photos from the Internet of the girl being sexually abused by a man who adopted her to sexually abuse her. The abuse occurred for several years, starting when she was 5 years old.
The girl said Falso is among those who have perpetuated her abuse.
“What kind of people want to see pictures of a little girl being sexually abused?” the child wrote. “My abuse is still going on. Day after day, people want to download and look at my pictures.”
The girl urged the judge to punish Falso, and others like him.
McAvoy asked Falso if he acknowledged his wrongdoing.
“Yes,” Falso responded.
“The court feels there is a need here for punishment,” McAvoy said. “Children have to be protected from this kind of behavior.”
The judge said the sentence took into account a prior misdemeanor conviction of endangering the welfare of a child Falso plead guilty to in 1987 in Homer Town Court.
Falso’s brother and some other family members attended this morning’s sentencing and declined to comment afterward.
“I don’t take pleasure in these cases,” Lovric said after the sentencing. “It’s probably the most disturbing aspect of what humans do.”
Falso, who owns Patino Murphy’s bar and Bald Lucy’s Ale House on Central Avenue in Cortland, was arrested June 8 for the alleged possession, receipt and production of child pornography, and traveling abroad with the intention of soliciting sex from a minor.
When FBI agents entered Falso’s home with a search warrant June 8, Falso admitted he possessed child pornography at his home and admitted having traveled abroad about 10 times to have sex with young females, according to statements.
In his statements, he admitted he stored images of child pornography in a box in his bedroom and saved images and video clips of child pornography on his computer. He admitted using his computer to download and print the images.
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