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Chenango County D.A. Speaks Out After Recent Court Case

Ferrarese says he does not want outcome to deter victims from reporting abuse to authorities
Chenango County Courthouse in Norwich
Chenango County Courthouse in Norwich(WBNG 12 News)
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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Warning: This story involves themes of sexual assault that may be disturbing to readers.

NORWICH, N.Y. (WBNG) -- On April 21, Stephen Dale Pierce was seen in a Chenango County Courtroom after being indicted on sex abuse in the first degree, forcible touching, unlawful imprisonment in the second degree and assault in the third degree.

He was found not guilty on all counts.

“It is my position and my belief that the reasonable inference that can be drawn is that this defendant intentionally assaulted the victim who is mentally challenged and is incapable of making or fabricating, making up this kind of story,” said Chenango County District Attorney Michael Ferrarese.

The district attorney said the prosecution provided people with testimony of the events which occurred in 2021. This involved the defendant assaulting the victim, driving to a secluded location, physically ripping hair from the victim’s head, and making threats of rape.

According to Ferrarese, a doctor that saw the victim after the incident corroborated these statements as they aligned with their examination of the victim.

“We had the victim who testified and was consistent throughout the entire case that she had been assaulted,” said Ferrarese. He said there are some factors regarding the trial that could be changed, however, they are pieces to a much larger story within New York State’s legal system.

“In the federal system, in order to go non-jury for a defendant to make that choice it requires the people to agree, in New York State, unfortunately, it doesn’t,” said Ferrarese. “I would advocate for that law to change, and I think if we were to do a study, non-jury trials typically have a higher percentage of acquittal than jury trials. And that’s problematic.”

Due to the results of the case, the district attorney said the public should take caution when out.

“I do think it is of utmost importance that Mr. Pierce is walking the streets again, he is, based on his prior criminal history, someone that everyone ought to be aware of their surroundings, and that he is walking the streets and there should be concerned by citizens to make sure that they keep themselves safe,” said Ferrarese.

Resources for Crime Victims in Chenango County:

  • Crime Victims Assistance Center
  • 8 Silver Street, Norwich, 13815
  • Main Office: (607) 723-3200
  • 24/7 Crisis Line:
  • Crisis Line: (607) 722-4256
  • Text: (607) 725-8196