Cuomo issues pardon of Clinton man

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced three pardons on Tuesday, including one of a Clinton man.

Rocco Paciello, 49, of Clinton was convicted in 1988 of third-degree statutory rape. The charge against Paciello, then 22, stemmed from a complaint made by the parents of his then-15-year-old girlfriend, whom he was dating with her parents' consent. He was sentenced to eight days in jail and five years probation.

After his early release from probation, Paciello married the girlfriend and they have remained married for 21 years. In 1987, he joined the National Guard and later became a full-time active duty soldier until his retirement in 2007. He is currently a college honors student.

His petition for a pardon came with letters of support from his in-laws, who expressed regret about filing the original charges, his wife, their two children, his pastor, his sister-in-law, friends and colleagues from the National Guard.

Cuomo granted the clemency to New Yorkers who have completed their sentences, but whose legal status and rights were hampered by their criminal records.

"Today, I am granting pardons to three individuals whose records make a compelling case for justice being best served through clemency," Cuomo said. "These New Yorkers have paid their debt to society long ago, but have been prevented from having the same legal rights as others because of their past crimes.

"Each has shown themselves to be law-abiding citizens who have contributed to society, given back to their communities and are deserving of a second chance."

The other two pardons were for a Manhattan man and a Lake Peekskill man.

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