December hearing scheduled for CO accused of sexual contact with children

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Huntley Hearing has been scheduled in December for a Corrections Officer accused of having sexual contact with girls under the age of 13.

Donald Hughes served as a corrections officer in Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome for more than 20 years, and has been accused of six sex crimes against two children - ages 10 and 12.

Hughes entered a not-guilty plea in Oneida County Court in September to crimes that included First Degree Sexual Abuse, and Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child. That charge says that unlawful sexual contact continued for an 18-month-period from September 2009 to April 2011.

He has been out on bail since first being charged earlier this year. The Department of Corrections says that Hughes is still listed as an employee of the Mohawk Correctional Facility, but he was suspended without pay on May 7.

The length of that suspension is determinant of the outcome of the criminal charges, state officials said earlier this year.

State officials said that if the criminal charges result in a felony conviction, then Hughes would be automatically terminated from the position.

The Oneida County District Attorney's Office extended a plea offer of 15 years in prison. If Hughes is convicted at trial, he runs the risk of being sentenced separately on all six crimes.

Hughes rejected that plea offer and a Huntley Hearing was scheduled for Hughes on December 13 in Oneida County Court.

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