Modified: February 20, 2015 4:14pm
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announces that 71 year-old Mikhail Kusluk pleaded guilty as charged to two counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case. These are the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, the defendant did not receive a so-called “plea bargain” and was instead prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Between June 1, 2011 and September 9, 2011, Kusluk sexually abused a 6 year-old child on two separate occasions.
Kusluk originally pleaded guilty to Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, a lesser charge, on October 15, 2012, and was sentenced to a one year term of imprisonment. Despite the fact that he has resided in the United States for over a decade and pleaded guilty with the aid of legal counsel and a Russian interpreter, Kusluk claimed he did not understand what he was pleading guilty to. This claim was rejected by the presiding judge; however, Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk allowed Kusluk to withdraw his guilty plea. DA Sedita then directed that the case be presented to an Erie County Grand Jury. An indictment was returned with no plea bargain offered.
Kusluk is currently confined to the Erie County Holding Center on $50,000 bail, pending sentence on September 25, 2014, where he faces up to 14 years in state prison.
The case was successfully prosecuted Assistant District Attorney Lynette Reda, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Special Victim’s Bureau.