Niagara Gazette

Courts

January 3, 2014

Appearance adjourned in NT abuse case

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — Niagara County prosecutors have still not decided whether or not to retry Bradley McNamara, the North Tonawanda man accused of allegedly abusing his 14-year-old stepdaughter.

McNamara was set to appear in court Thursday to discuss his case’s next steps, but the matter was adjourned for the second time. He is set to be back in court on Jan. 27.

In October, the jury failed to reach a verdict on all four charges — second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act, attempted second-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child.  

The case against the 39-year-old rests with the alleged victim’s testimony, as there is no eyewitness testimony or physical evidence. During the trial, the teen said McNamara sexually abused her every night or every other night after tucking her in.

McNamara, who owns Juicy Vapor on Niagara Falls Boulevard, allegedly began touching the girl’s breasts in 2011, and over the course of a year and a half, the abuse escalated to oral sex and attempted rape, the girl testified.

Defense attorney Robert Berkun has argued the teen crafted the story out of a desire to meet her biological father. The sexual stories came from adult apps she had on her phone, he said.

During closing arguments, Berkun said the teen’s 10-year-old half-sister, who shared a room with the victim while some of the alleged abuse took place, testified that she did not hear or see anything inappropriate.

But Assistant District Attorney Robert Zucco, who prosecuted the case, argued that McNamara was also responsible for updating the family’s phones, and could have installed the apps himself.

Zucco also pointed to medical professionals’ testimony, which indicated that the girl could have been abused despite a lack of physical harm or evidence. The girl, who mumbled often during her testimony, was uncomfortable and had a hard time speaking due to the nature of her testimony, not because she was lying, Zucco said.

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