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Parents speak after Deerfield man pleads guilty to sexual abusing 5-year-old

His home on Glendale Place in Deerfield where his wife, Barb Menard, was running an unlicensed daycare.

Posted: May 20, 2019 11:00 AM
Updated: May 21, 2019 9:05 AM

UTICA, N.Y. -- The Deerfield man accused of sexually abusing a young child pleaded guilty in Oneida County Court Monday.

Investigators say 78-year-old Rodney Westbrook sexually abused a 5-year-old girl at his home.

His home on Glendale Place in Deerfield where his wife, Barb Menard, was running an unlicensed daycare.

He faced one count of felony sexual abuse in the first degree, and pleaded guilty to that charge.

Westbrook is due back in court July 15 for sentencing and could face three years in state prison.

The district attorney said in court on Monday that there are more victims involved.

Derrick O'Meara, Chief Deputy of the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center, said the DA chose to pursue one charge of first-degree sexual abuse instead of pursuing five separate charges. O'Meara said the decision was made based on the goal of the prosecution, and in this case, the goal of the prosecution is to lock Westbrook up and separate him from society. 

Parents of the other victims spoke to WKTV about the situation. 

"I trusted them, with the most precious gift that God could ever give you," Lee Bellair, the mother of a victim, said.

Bellair said it was another child that came forward when they witnessed what Westbrook was doing. 

"Thank God for that child, because if that child didn’t come forth my child and other children involved would still be hurting," Bellair said.

O'Meara said although Westbrook's wife was running an illegal operation, it is still technically not a criminal offense.

Parents say Menard is to blame for letting this happen. 

“I really wish she was charged with an accessory because I’ve heard that other children came to her for help and she turned her back," Bellair said. "She was way over ratio, she had more kids there than she could even watch and keep count of."

Bellair also says 3 years in prison isn't enough. 

"She’s affected for the rest of her entire life and she’s only eight years old," Bellair said. "And I just feel like we’re getting the short end of the stick and I don’t feel like justice is really being served."

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