Niagara Gazette

Courts

May 16, 2013

Man who kidnapped, abused NT girl gets Level 2 sex offender status from previous conviction.

Niagara Gazette —

A Tonawanda man sentenced to 15 years in prison in late April for kidnapping and sexually abusing a young North Tonawanda girl last year was in Niagara County Court Thursday morning for a sex registry assessment. 

But it wasn't for the most recent incident, which took place in July 2012, when David J. Grover, now 35, disappeared with the child from her North Tonawanda home only to turn up hours later at a relative's in the City of Tonawanda after sexually abusing her in a nearby patch of woods. That determination will be made when he is released from state prison in 2028 after pleading guilty to a single count of kidnapping as a sexually motivated felony. 

Instead, an oversight involving a very similar scenario that took place in 2007, when he left a family friend's home with a 3-year-old girl in his vehicle, was the target of Thursday's hearing. 

The abduction had initiated North Tonawanda's first Amber Alert and led to Grover's conviction on a reduced charge of endangering the welfare of a child, which according to prosecutors, required a sex offender assessment.  

"It should have been determined when he was released on the previous sentence," said Niagara County Assistant District Attorney Robert Zucco, of the failure of the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders of New York State to register Grover as a sex offender, after he spent four years in prison for the 2007 conviction. 

Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said in court Thursday that the board  "just learned of the 2007 conviction by a registrable offense." 

Grover, who dropped the young victim off at her house and led police on a 10-mile chase before being taken into custody, was also convicted in May 2005 for burglary when he was found outside the bedroom of a teenage girl. 

Farkas said a point system used by the board and based on the victim's age, Grover's history of felony convictions and whether drugs or alcohol were involved led to a Level 2 status, thought that status may become more severe when he is again released from prison after serving his current term, when a new review will take place. 

"That will be determined when he's released," Zucco said. 

A Level 2 status indicates a sex offender is of moderate risk of repeat offense," according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext.4115.

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