CITY COUPLE PLEADS GUILTY TO SEX CRIMES
December 10, 2020
A city couple pled guilty to having sex with an underaged teen boy this afternoon in Cortland County Court as part of a plea bargain for no more than one-and-a-half years in prison.
Robert D. Lewis, 53, and Mary J. Cruz, 61, both admitted to committing the assaults on June 8 at a Port Watson Street residence. Lewis pled guilty to third-degree criminal sex act, admitting that he had the 16-year-old perform oral sex on himself. Cruz pled guilty to third-degree rape, admitting that she had sexual intercourse with the boy.
Both Lewis and Cruz could be sentenced to the maximum prison sentence — four years in prison and 10 years of post-release supervision — if they fail to appear at sentencing, are rearrested before sentencing or fail to cooperate with the County Probation Office’s pre-sentencing report.
In back-to-back hearings, their defense attorneys both noted on the record they can argue for a lighter sentence at their clients’ sentencing hearings under the plea agreement. In addition to 18 months in prison, Lewis and Cruz will also be under post-release supervision for five years.
Lewis, a small man with shocking white hair cut short and glasses, told Judge Julie Campbell that he did not know the boy was underage at the time of the abuse.
“At that time I didn’t know,” Lewis said. “I see his ID was 18, but that was stupid anyway.”
Cruz and Lewis each acknowledged at the hearing the boy was actually underaged. Their defense attorneys stated there were no “viable” defenses for their clients.
When asked about their health and mental capacity, Lewis answered he has significant heart issues and attained a GED diploma. Cruz, a short, stout woman with brown hair, said she has asthma and graduated from high school.
Lewis and Cruz were arrested July 10, according to the Cortland Police Department. Lewis was charged with felony third-degree criminal sex act and felony possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, as well as fifth-degree conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors. Cruz was charged with two counts of felony third-degree rape and felony third-degree criminal sex act, as well as second-degree criminal sale of marijuana, fifth-degree conspiracy and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors.
Lewis is scheduled for sentencing at 11 a.m. Feb. 11 and Cruz is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Feb. 18.
Both are free until their sentencings, but their bail conditions were not immediately available this evening.
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.