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Man sentenced for taping sexual act with autistic child

By PAT BAILEY

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Stephen DeProspero, 37 of Rome, was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in state prison, Monday, for taping himself having oral sex with a 10 year-old autistic child.

During the sentence Monday, Oneida County Court Judge Michael Dwyer said DeProspero's act "bothered" him.

"I can't tell you how many murder cases I have been through, but none have bothered me more than this." Dwyer said.

DeProspero will also be sentenced in federal court in June, on the charge of making and possessing child pornography.

DeProspero's attorney says he plans on appealing the guilty plea because he has a problem with how police received the evidence to convict his client. Police confiscated DeProspero's computer in an unrelated case where they then found the video of him and the child.

It wasn't until DeProspero was released that police found the video of him and the autistic child on the same computer, a computer Policelli says no one had warrant to search a second time.

"If they had a reason to research the property, they could have applied to the judge for another warrant, they did not do that," Policelli said. "If they felt there was some kind of reason to retain the property, they could have started forfeiture proceedings. They did none of this.

Policelli says he argued the constitution was violated by an illegal search and seizure in 2009, and that will be the basis of his appeals on the state and federal levels.

Policelli says the initial argument fell on deaf ears because law enforcement let emotion get in the way of the law.

"It doesn't matter what the crime is, you can not be so capricious and say certain rules don't apply to certain crimes because of the emotional reaction," Policelli said. "The constitution applies to everybody, in all crimes."

Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Dawn Lupi says that despite the appeals on the state and federal level, she believes Stephen DeProspero will not get out of prison.

"I feel confident the law will come out on our side on this," Lupi said. "I certainly hope it does and we're certainly going to do everything we can as far as pursuing our response to the appeal as vigorously as we can."

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