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Jury Trial Begins in Sex Abuse Case Against Port Leyden Man

September 09, 2019   06:15 p.m.   By: Nick Altmire
    Lowville, NY- A trial got underway today in Lewis County Court, with the
    Honorable Daniel R. King presiding, in the sex abuse case against Michael F.
    Daskiewich, 58, of Port Leyden.

    Mr. Daskiewich was arrested by New York State Police last October. A grand
    jury later handed up an eight-count indictment against Mr. Daskiewich,
    containing the following charges for which he is currently on trial for:

  • 2 counts of first-degree Criminal Sex Act, class B felonies
  • 1 count of first-degree Sexual Abuse, a class D felony
  • 2 counts of third-degree Criminal Sex Act, class E felonies
  • 2 counts of Unlawfully Dealing With a Child, class A misdemeanors
  • 1 count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a class A misdemeanor

    Proceedings today started with the jury selection process, with Special
    Prosecutor Caleb Petzoldt and Defense Attorney Kevin Dwyer narrowing
    prospective jurors down to the 12 person jury with two additional alternate jurors.

    The seated jury consists of 10 males and 2 females, with two male alternate

    Opening arguments in the case were heard this afternoon.

    Special Prosecutor Petzoldt opened by telling the jury that on the evening of
    October 20, 2018, and into the early hours of October 21, 2018, a 15-year-old
    male victim had an encounter with Mr. Daskiewich.

    Mr. Petzoldt said the evening started when the victim met a teenage male friend
    at the bowling alley in Boonville, later going to the friend's residence in Boonville.
    It was at the friend's house where the victim encountered Mr. Daskiewich, who
    has an established relationship to the victim's friend. It was here that the
    prosecution alleges Mr. Daskiewich told the boys he would buy them alcohol if
    they wanted to spend the night at his place in Port Leyden to hang out and play
    video games.

    Mr. Petzoldt told the jury they would see evidence that Mr. Daskiewich then went
    to the Nice n' Easy store in Boonville to purchase four 4Loco alcoholic drinks,
    with both teens consuming approximately two drinks each.

    The prosecutor said that the boys each had set up an air mattress in the living
    room at Mr. Daskiewich's residence, where they were going to "crash" for the
    night. At some point, according to the prosecutor, the victim became ill and
    started throwing up, at which time Mr. Daskiewich told him to bring his air
    mattress into his bedroom so he could keep an eye on him, separating the two

    The jury then heard the prosecution's description of "multiple acts of forcible, non-
    consensual sexual contact" that took place between Mr. Daskiewich and the
    victim, in Mr. Daskiewich's room, after Mr. Daskiewich had determined the
    victim's friend was asleep.

    Mr. Petzoldt told the jury they would hear in the defendant's own words his
    responses when asked about the encounter a day after it allegedly took place.

    "I believe you will be provided with sufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty
    on each and every charge," Mr. Petzoldt concluded.

    Mr. Dwyer then opened his statements with a quote, "Believe nothing, no matter
    where you read it or who said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with
    your own reason and your own common sense."

    Mr. Dwyer said he believes the jury will have doubts about what happened and
    how it happened after the prosecution presents its case, noting that it is up to
    prosecution to convince the jury of Mr. Daskiewich's guilt beyond any reasonable
    doubt. He noted that intoxication will be an important topic and that the jury
    should pay close attention to the details.

    "What I ask is that you listen closely to what you hear and see," Mr. Dwyer told
    the jury. "Pay attention to how the story flows and if it is logical. I do not envy
    your position, but I have the utmost confidence in you to fairly decide this case."

    The trial is set to resume Tuesday morning, when the first witness in the case will
    be called.

    We'll have updates as the trial progresses.

Michael F. Daskiewich