Cazenovia funeral home director Brian H. Tait, 46, of Lincklaen Road, pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges, third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, during his latest court appearance on July 7 at the Madison County Courthouse in Wampsville.
Standing before Otsego County Judge Brian D. Burns, and under the counsel of his lawyer Emil Rossi, Tait accepted the prosecutor’s deal which orders he serve three years of probation and undergo a mental-health evaluation. Absent from the courtroom was the portrait of former New York State Supreme Court Justice Albert E. Tait Jr., the defendant’s father, which usually hangs behind the judge’s bench.
The lead prosecutor, Chenango County First Assistant District Attorney Stephen M. Dunshee, said he was content with the result.
“I’m satisfied with the outcome,” Dunshee said. “The defendant will be under the watchful eye of the Madison County Probation Department for a period of three years. They will determine if he is a sexual predator and has to undergo any counseling or remediation. Probation is not easy.”
Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 13, whereupon Tait will begin probation. Until then, Judge Burns ruled Tait must remain a law-abiding citizen and follow orders given by the Madison County Probation Department. If Tait violates any of the pre-sentencing regulations, he will serve up to a year in jail, Dunshee said.
Tait initially pled not-guilty to seven misdemeanor charges at his arraignment in December. He faced five counts of third-degree sexual abuse, one count of forcible touching and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, stemming from a New York State Police investigation in October.
Tait was first charged with one count of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of forcible touching on Oct. 12. State police allege Tait subjected a female former employee, 24, to inappropriate physical exams on Sept. 20, as conditions of her employment.
According to court documents, the five additional charges were brought forth by four other accusers, including two minors ages 15 and 17, during the investigation. Tait was charged with one count of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a child after the 15-year-old female former employee contacted investigators. The document states that in August and September of 2009 and 2010, Tait “grabbed her underpants and pulled them down, exposing her private area.” The 17-year-old accuser told police she was subjected to improper physical exams in August 2010. Two other former employees, ages 21 and 22, claim Tait inappropriately touched them in May and June 2010.
As the trial was set to begin July 16, Dunshee said he offered the deal in hopes to avoid having the young female accusers testify before the court. On July 7, Judge Burns approved permanent orders of protection for the five accusers. Dunshee said he expects the victims, or members their family, will deliver comments at the sentencing in September.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.