QUEENSBURY - Warrensburg restaurateur Anthony Sapienza, 44, was sentenced to significant jail time Jan. 28 following his Nov. 14, 2008 conviction of numerous felonies stemming from illicit sexual contact with two underage girls.
Sapienza was convicted of 17 counts which included charges of Second degree Rape, First degree Criminal Sex Acts with a minor under the age of 15 by means of forcible compulsion and Endangering the Welfare of a Child, according to the Grand Jury Indictment.
Count No. 17 of the indictment was the most egregious and carries with it 15 years of the total 21 2/3 to 35 year sentence, Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said Thursday. On top of prison time, Sapienza will also be subject to 20 years probation upon his release from the state penitentiary.
"We made a pre-trial offer, but he maintained his innocence throughout," Hogan said. "Luckily for us, Kevin (Asst. District Attorney Kevin Donlon), the victims and the police did such an excellent job."
In December of 2007, Sapienza was arrested by State Police after being discovered by a trooper in what Donlon called a "dark corner" of the northbound rest area near exit 18 on I-87 with a then 16-year-old Warrensburg girl.
After further investigation, the Warren County District Attorney's Office filed formal charges, alleging that the sexual relationship with the girl had been ongoing for some time. Furthermore, an alleged past sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl from Long Island in 2005 was also uncovered, Donlon said during the opening arguments.
"We will prove to you that there are no coincidences or misunderstandings when it comes to child sex acts," Donlon said. "He (Sapienza) began to groom her, telling her she was pretty and paying special attention to her while she worked for him during the summer of 2007 when she was 15."
According to the prosecution, the girl received from and performed oral sex on Sapienza on numerous occasions throughout the summer and fall of 2007. The majority of the alleged incidents occurred either at Sapienza's restaurant on Rte. 9 in Warrensburg or in Pack Forest. One of the alleged incidents even occurred behind the bar of the restaurant while the business was open, Donlon said.
This wasn't the first incident where Sapienza engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with a minor. In 2005, Sapienza met a 14-year-old girl from Long Island after he began a romantic relationship with her mother.
Over time, he began showing her significant attention and gave her alcohol. During the summer of 2005, the people argued that Sapienza began fondling the girl and eventually the two engaged in intercourse.
The two girls took the stand during the trial and recounted damning stories to the jury.
Sapienza will face further charges in March stemming from another alleged instance where he forced himself upon an unwilling female, a 19-year-old clerk at a convenience store, Hogan said.