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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Former 9th JD Prosecutor Must Admit to Sex with Teens (MORE, CLICK HERE)

Former prosecutor offered choice of jail or prison if she admits having sex with teenagers
The Journal News - Steve Lieberman - February 28, 2008

NEW CITY - A former prosecutor and PTA mom was told yesterday that she could choose either the Rockland County jail or state prison if she admitted in court to having had sex with two teenagers during the summer.

Beth Modica, 44, a Sloatsburg mother of four, can either serve one to three years in state prison or two years in the county jail with 10 years supervised release.

She would be classified as a sex offender as a result of any plea. Any felony conviction would result in Modica automatically losing her license to practice law.

Modica must decide by March 11 whether she will plead to two felony sex charges and a misdemeanor count involving serving alcohol and marijuana to minors. If she declines the plea, her case will go to trial before before Judge Catherine Bartlett in Rockland County Court.

The charges have not been finalized, but District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said yesterday that he wanted her to plead to third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sex act, both felonies, and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges would cover accusations that during the summer Modica had intercourse with a 16-year-old boy, oral sex with that teen and a 15-year-old, and provided marijuana and alcohol to other teenagers.

Modica, who recently lost her jobs as a deputy attorney for Sloatsburg and Ramapo, could reject both offers and try to persuade a jury to acquit her of five felony counts and 30 misdemeanor charges.

If she is convicted of the top counts of third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual acts, she faces 1 1/3 to four years in state prison on each count.

"The defendant can decide then whether she wants a plea," Bartlett said of the March 11 date. "If not, we will proceed to motions" and trial.

The plea agreements were offered following a 10-minute conference between Bartlett, Modica's lawyer, Gerard Damiani, and prosecutor Gary Lee Heavner.

"We have not made a decision on whether to take a plea and I have not made a recommendation," Damiani said after court.

Damiani had been hoping to persuade Bartlett to offer Modica a probationary sentence.

On Feb. 6, Bartlett offered Modica a sentence of one to three years if she pleaded guilty to third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sex act.

Zugibe said he supported Bartlett's recommendation. He said Heavner offered an alternative of two years in the jail because it would include a mandatory 10 years of supervised probation for sex crimes after release from jail.

Zugibe said the two years in jail and 10 years probation would keep Modica under supervision longer. There are no probationary periods with a state prison sentence.

"She runs the risk of a greater sentence if she goes to trial and is convicted," Zugibe said. "We'd like to spare the young victims the indignity of testifying. She'd serve two-thirds of the two years and then face a fairly intense probation period of 10 years."

Violating probation during the 10 years could result in a prison term, he said.

As the lawyers and judge discussed her potential fate, Modica stood alone at the defense table, her hands folded in front of her. Her mother watched from the audience.

At one point, a court officer brought Modica a box of green tissues, so she could wipe tears from her eyes.

Damiani provided Bartlett and Zugibe with documentation showing other cases in which judges sentenced people in Modica's situation to probation.

Damiani maintained that Modica faced additional consequences from pleading guilty, aside from incarceration.

He said she would become a sex offender, limiting where she could live in Rockland. A guilty plea to any felony would affect custody of her four children with her estranged husband, Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica.

"There's no question she faces serious collateral issues if she pleads guilty," Damiani said.

Modica came under investigation Dec. 31, when Ramapo police said they received a letter about the alleged summer activities.

Modica is accused of going on a two-month binge in July and August during which she had sex with two Suffern High School students and drank alcohol and smoked pot with them and five other teenagers.

The indictment charges Modica with one count of third-degree rape and four counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, both felonies. She also faces 30 misdemeanor charges: four counts of third-degree sexual abuse and 26 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Modica, who was raised in Rockland, graduated from Spring Valley High School, Syracuse University and St. John's Law School.

She worked as a prosecutor for the Queens District Attorney's Office and later in Rockland during he 1990s.

She was accompanied to court yesterday by her mother, Judy Gardner, a former assistant to two state senators from Rockland. Her father was a medical malpractice lawyer and lobbyist.

Modica is free on $75,000 bail.


Anonymous said...

This case is just the tip of the iceberg in Rockland County.The Court system is rotten to the core.This small County is corrupt beyond your wildest dreams.
The Family Court is destroying peoples lives at the hands of a vindictive,power hungry woman by the name of Judge Linda Christopher.Her outright hatred and contempt for the law and men is astonishing.She has no regard for children at all.
The lawyers and Judges know it but are too busy protecting each other and their lucrative schemes.
At the heart of these schemes are the ficticious deeds that are being recorded in the Rockland County clerks office.

Anonymous said...

I live in Rockland county....the place is a cesspool of corruption.....please......someone, do something.

Anonymous said...

in the past Rockland County has been the locus of interest due to mob control. The Judges and attorneys should be the main focus NOW. The business with the deeds & mortgages have always been an excellent way for the mob to launder money.

Anonymous said...

Letter to the F.B.I.

We the people of Westchester and Rockland Counties ask the authorities to begin a major investigation into the criminal activities of the Lawyers and Judges of the Ninth District. These counties are being run for the sole benefit of the Attorneys and Judges. The corruption is so wide spread that only the Federal authorities can handle it.The innocent Men,Woman and Children are the pawns that are forced into bankruptcy in order to fill the pockets of the Attorneys and Judges.
I believe these activities fall under the R.I.C.O. act.
WE ask for action before any more innocent people are destroyed.

Anonymous said...

The court system is as corrupt as the politicians!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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