3 YEARS’ PROBATION FOR BABY-SITTER ACCUSED OF RAPE (Mom admonishes judge for letting ‘a predator go free’)

Newsday/Robin Topping

Thomas Bliss, 18, pleaded guilty last November to two counts of endangering the welfare of achild in the midst of a bench trial before County Court Judge Louis Ohlig in which the victims,ages 13 and 16, testified. The defendant was originally indicted on 18 counts, including severalfelonies such as rape and sodomy, for his conduct while baby-sitting the two girls last year. Hedid not admit to sexual conduct. The mother of the two girls who said they were raped by Blissaccused the Suffolk judge of letting a predator go free yesterday when he sentenced the Bay Shoreman to 3 year's probation a part of the plea agreement. The mother rebuked the judge for saying ina conference with her in November that her daughter and Bliss were engaging in sexualexperimentation. She said yesterday in court that she felt pressured in the November conferencewith Ohlig to agree to the plea. She said she wanted to continue the trial but feared Ohlig didn'tbelieve her daughters and he was going to acquit Bliss in the non-jury trial. The mother said, Ifelt you have let a predator go free. Why would any other [abused] child want to come forward.Ohlig said he stopped the trial to prevent any additional harm to the two young ladies, and hesaid the plea was appropriate considering the evidence. Bliss' mother baby-sat for the girls andtwo younger siblings, and he took over twice when his own mother had to leave, during which, thevictims say, he raped and sexually abused them, then threatened to kill the younger children ifthey told anyone.

(New York)