LOCKPORT — Ethan Simon Templar McCloud — the Falls man formerly known as William C. Shrubsall — will be spending some more time behind bars.
In a sentencing hearing conducted entirely online, State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. ordered McCloud to serve a 2- to 6-year prison term for his conviction on a bail jumping charge. The justice gave him an unconditional discharge of his conviction on a charge of second-degree criminal contempt.
The charges were linked to McCloud's flight to Canada in 1996 to avoid sentencing on sexual assault charges.
The former fugitive had asked for the virtual sentencing to avoid having to travel from a state correctional facility in Wyoming County back to Niagara County during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Kloch noted, on the record, that McCloud "did not want to appear in this court because of COVID concerns."
McCloud, now 47, is currently serving a 2-1/3- to 7-year prison term in connection with the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl in Niagara County. After faking a suicide and fleeing to Canada on May 14, 1996, in his absence a county court jury found him guilty of first-degree sexual abuse.
"This defendant is a manipulative and violent man," Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek told Kloch over an internet connection from her office. "He must stay in jail as long as possible."
Wojtaszek asked Kloch to make the bail jumping sentence run consecutive to McCloud's sex abuse sentence. The justice agreed to that.
So McCloud will not begin serving the bail jumping term until the sex abuse sentence is finished.
Wojtaszek also said that her office will work with the New York State Attorney General's Office to seek a civil confinement of McCloud once his criminal prison terms have been completed.
Defense attorney Janelle Messer opposed the lengthy sentence.
"I think he has served his time for these crimes," Messe said. "This has been a long road for him. I think we can agree bail jumping is not the crime of the century."
McCloud apologized to Kloch.
"I regret my actions in this matter prevented closure for the victim in the underlying case," he said. "I wish I could undo what I did, but I can't and I'm sorry for that."
Kloch had previously told McCloud he would sentence him to a prison term of no more than 2 to 6 years and told him bluntly "there are consequences for our actions."
Defense lawyers for McCloud had challenged the bail jumping and contempt charges claiming prosecutors had taken too long to try to bring him to trial.
But Kloch ruled in September that police and prosecutors did not deny McCloud of his constitutional right to a speedy trial. The justice ruled that the lengthy delay in bringing him to trial on bail jumping charges "must be laid solely at the defendant's feet."
After fleeing the U.S., McCloud lived in Nova Scotia for two years before being arrested by Canadian authorities for a series of assaults and sexual attacks on three women.
He was tried and convicted on multiple counts of sexual assault, aggravated assault and robbery. The Parole Board of Canada declared him a dangerous offender in December 2001 and he was given an indeterminate sentence, with the potential for life in prison.
In November 2018, the Parole Board of Canada ordered McCloud released from custody and deported to the United States.
Niagara County Sheriff's Office investigators took him into custody from Canadian authorities on the Rainbow Bridge in January 2019.