EXCLUSIVE: A Hackensack man who admitted sexually assaulting a mentally disabled boy after getting him drunk over the 2012 New Year’s holiday will spend at least the next 30 months behind bars for the crime.
Michael Leap admitted to plying the then-17-year-old boy with alcohol and assaulting him several times, which his lawyer on Friday called “an aberrant act in an otherwise law abiding life.”
“My client’s remorse is incredibly deep,” attorney Mark Leibman told Superior Court Judge Edward Jerejian in a Hackensack courtroom Friday.
“The circumstances that led to the offenses were unique, and I think a repeat offense is exceptionally remote,” Leibman ( above: in suit ) added.
“My attorney spoke well for me,” he replied.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Kristin DeMarco opposed Leibman’s recommendation for a sentence of 364 days in the Bergen County Jail and asked Jerejian to stick to the plea-bargained three years in state prison.
She read a letter from the victim’s mother — which said, in part, that the event “has caused my family to never be able to trust anyone again.”
“The family were outraged when it was discussed that probation might be considered,” DeMarco ( photo above ) said. “There were serious charges of sexual assault that were reduced to avoid putting the victim through the trauma of a trial and because travel from California would be a financial hardship on the family.”
The judge called a prison sentence “necessary.” With it comes supervision for life, as required under Megan’s Law, he noted. Leap also must register as a sex offender.
Jerejian also emphasized that the victim “is being medicated and treated for anxiety. This will probably affect him for the rest of his life. The circumstances of the incident, the alcohol, are factors that have to be considered.
“I think a repeat offense is a small risk, but [the circumstances] great weight.”
As part of the plea, Leap is subject to a restraining order preventing contact with the victim.
He also was evaluated at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel, where, Leibman said, he was found not to be a compulsive or repetitive offender.
STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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