With a jury waiting to be picked to decide his fate, the sex abuse trial against Dr. David Plache ended before it began on Monday morning.

In a dramatic deal with prosecutors, Plache, a pediatric endocrinologist who had leased office space at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, pleaded guilty to a single count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Plache had faced a 29-count indictment charging him with sexual abuse-related offenses involving three young boys. He had been accused of improperly touching and molesting the boys, who were his patients.

In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped 18 misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse in one case, five counts of third-degree sexual abuse in another case and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse in the third case.

Two felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse were also dismissed.

Plache will also give up his license to practice medicine in New York and agreed that he will “never apply to have his license restored and will never practice medicine again.”

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza accepted the plea deal and agreed to sentence Plache to three years of probation. His sentencing is set for April 4.

Plache’s defense attorney, Amy Martoche, said her client made a very difficult decision.

“There is always a risk when you go to trial,” she said. “And under the circumstances, the certainty of probation allows him to put this behind him and move forward.”

Martoche was also quick to point out that the plea makes no reference to sexual abuse.

“He pled to endangering the welfare of a child and that’s a pretty broad statute,’ she said. “It’s not related to sex at all and he has and still denies the sex allegations.”

Assistant District Attorney Robert Zucco said the plea spares Plache’s young patients from having to testify.

“We allowed the defendant to plead guilty and avoid a possible jail sentence in order to accomplish two goals,” Zucco said. “First and foremost, this man will never be able to practice medicine again. Second, the young victims in this case will not have to testify in court, they will not experience the trauma of having to relive the events. The victims are all especially vulnerable and fragile.”

The case against Plache began last October when a 15-year-old boy told Falls police that the doctor had molested him at his office and at the boy’s home. The victims in the three cases ranged in age from 11 to 15.

As recently as November, Plache’s defense team had insisted the charges against him were the results of “fabrications” by his accusers.

“We deny that (the acts of sexual abuse) did occur,” attorney Vincent Doyle III, a member of the defense team, said at that time. “Our defense is these events did not occur.”

Zucco said the deal stemmed from discussions that began last week.

Martoche said she doesn’t know what Plache plans to do after giving up his medical practice.

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