$16M PERV VERDICT VS. EX-YALE PROFESSOR
New York Post
Antonio Lasaga, a 54 year old former Yale University professor, was charged with sexuallyassaulting a 13-year-old boy. He has been charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault,risking injury to a minor and two counts of employing a minor in an obscene performance. Combined,the charges carry a maximum penalty of 110 years in prison. Two weeks after a raid on his office hewas charged with receipt and possession of child pornography. A statement by the United StatesAttorney's office in New Haven asserted that Lasaga had downloaded from the Internet, and keptnumerous images of child pornography. He was released on the condition that he have no contactwith children until his case was resolved but on December 9th, 2001, he was confined at home withelectronic monitoring after prosecutors asserted that he had been seen driving back and forth infront of the home of a child and parking at the child's bus stop shortly before the bus was due toarrive. He remained on paid leave from his position as a professor of geochemistry. He pleaded nocontest to the charges of sexually assaulting the boy for nearly half the youngster's 13 years. Hewas taken into custody and faces more than 100 years in prison. The no-contest plea was part of anagreement with Connecticut prosecutors as Lasaga's trial was to begin in New Haven Superior Court.He also agreed to drop his challenge to his earlier conviction in federal court. Prosecutors agreedto drop 10 additional state charges against him and will allow him to serve his state sentenceconcurrently with his federal sentence. Lasaga was convicted on the child rape and pornographycharge and has filed an appeal of his 15-year federal sentence. His attorney, Diane Polan, hadasked for no more than nine years' imprisonment; Assistant U.S. Attorney Kari Dooley, theprosecutor, had asked for the maximum 20. Polan said she also plans to appeal Lasaga's sentence instate court on six sexual assault related counts. Judge Roland D. Fasano gave Lasaga a 20 yearsentence on those charges, to run concurrent to his federal sentence.
A Superior Court jury has awarded $16.5 million to the New Haven boy who was sexually abused byLasaga. The jury deliberated about 90 minutes on March 10 before deciding in favor of the boy, now18, in his lawsuit against Lasaga.
(New Haven, Connecticut)