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Corrections Officer sentenced to 43 years in prison for sex crimes against step-granddaughters

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The former New York State Correction Officer convicted of sexually abusing his two step-granddaughters, then ages eight and 10, heard his sentence on Wednesday in Oneida County Court in Utica, but not before hearing from one of his young victims and the parents of one.

A jury on January 12 convicted Donald Hughes, of Floyd, of several sex crimes, including first-degree sexual abuse. On Wednesday, the parents of one of the girls, now 10, told the judge she can't even hug her daughter any more.

She said the child has nightmares and that Hughes, the man the children knew as, "Poppy", stole her child's innocence.

The prosecutor read a letter the now 10-year-old victim wrote to Hughes.

"It wasn't my fault what happened to me. It just makes me sick what Poppy was doing to me. But it was Poppy's fault. He was stupid and wasn't thinking right. So get thinking Poppy. He's the dumb head and poppy I want you to be in jail for 5,000 years," said Prosecutor Dawn Catera Lupi, reading from the child's statement.

Hughes himself addressed the court, saying it was all a big misunderstanding and that he loved the girls. The prosecutor said that Hughes simply treated the children as objects used to satisfy his desires.

The judge sentenced Hughes to 7 and 15 year sentences on five different sex crimes, for a total of 43 years in state prison.

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