Newsday/Robin Topping

Matthew Maiello, a 31 year old man who formerly directed the youth ministry at St. Raphael'sRoman Catholic Church in East Meadow, was charged with sexually abusing two teenagers he metthrough the parish. Maiello, of 39 Grove Street in Lynbrook, was arrested in the parking lot ofKellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale on April 4, 2003. He had been an English teacher therefor nearly two years, since leaving his job at the church. There have been no similar incidentsreported at the high school. Cops say Maiello molested two girls in his youth ministry office andelsewhere at the church, as well as the girl's house and his Lynbrook home, where he lives with hisparents. Although the alleged crimes occurred as far back as 1999, the now 19 year old girl who hasaccused him only recently complained to police. Maiello started molesting her when she was 15 yearsold and a year later began having sex with a then 15 year old boy. Parishioners at St. Raphel'sCatholic Church were asked to pray for Maiello.

Nassau police have filed additional charges against Maiello after two more teenage victims cameforward with reports of alleged sexual abuse. Detectives charged him with five additional statutorycharges of third degree sodomy and one count of third degree rape after investigating the newaccounts of the sexual encounters he allegedly had with two female victims, who were 15 at the timeof the abuse. He has been ordered held in lieu of $300,000 bond or $150,000 cash for the newcharges.

In August, Maiello admitted in court, that he sexually abused the four teenagers he met throughhis parish work. He told Nassau County Court Judge Donald DeRiggi that he had sex with three girlsand a boy in his parish office between April 200 and April 2001. Sentencing had been scheduled forSeptember 5. Two of the teens are angry that their abuser may be sentenced to as little as a yearin prison, and at most 3 years. A female victim said, He took away my childhood, I can't get thoseyears back. The male victim said, I feel like Nassau County let us down. The teenagers said theJuly plea deal Maiello struck with Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon's office letMaiello off too lightly. And, through their attorney, they failed to persuade DeRiggi to imposeconsecutive sentences which would have been 4 to 12 years.

Maiello pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree rape and three counts of third degree sodomy- the most serious of the crimes against him. He walked out of state prison this week after serving2 years and 4 months for having sex with the four teenagers to whom he was supposed to be givingspiritual guidance. He is a level three sex offender, the most serious category. He will report toauthorities every 90 days and will return to prison if he violates any condition set down by thestate. At a news conference, alongside the victim and her family, was Laura Ahearn, an advocate forchild sex abuse victims, who pointed to Maiello's release as an example of why sentencing laws forsex offenders should be changed so those like him stay in longer and can't get out early.

She said, judges shouldn't have discretion when it comes to sex offenders and should be requiredto give them consectutive sentences of at least one year for every sex crime. Ahearn also said sexoffenders shouldn't be allowed to earn so-called good time that enables them to leave prisonearly on a conditional release, as Maiello did on his sentence of 1 to 3 years.

(New York)