Undercover Investigation Results in Several Arrests for Attempting to Meet Teens for Sex

Modified: December 17, 2019 11:52am

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12/17/2019

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces the following individuals have been charged as a result of an undercover joint investigation by the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, Cheektowaga Police Department, Town of Hamburg Police Department and the New York State Police to investigate and identify adults who attempt to sexually exploit children. It is alleged that these defendants contacted individuals whom they believed to be teenagers through various social media applications.

Howard Stives, Jr., 47, of Westport was arraigned before Cheektowaga Town Court Justice Paul S. Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree and one count of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, both Class “E” felonies. It is alleged that on September 27, 2019, at approximately 8:23 p.m., the defendant, a Level 3 sex offender, traveled to a location in the Town of Cheektowaga to attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old male.

Kevin Piechowicz, 37, of Buffalo was arraigned before Justice Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, a Class “E” felony, and one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a Class “A” misdemeanor. It is alleged that on September 25, 2019, 8:36 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Cheektowaga in an attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was a 14-year-old female. He was also allegedly found in possession of a small amount of cocaine at the time of his arrest.

Nicholas Sabha, 29, of Lewiston was arraigned before Judge Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, one count of Attempted Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, and one count of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, all Class “E” felonies. It is alleged that on September 27, 2019, at approximately 9:37 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in Cheektowaga to attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old female.

Nicholas Shepard, 25, of Springville was arraigned before Judge Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, a Class “E” felony, one count of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, a Class “E” felony, and one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class “B” misdemeanor. It is alleged that on September 27, 2019, at approximately 4:13 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in Cheektowaga to attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old female.

Richard Zloty, 69, of Orchard Park was arraigned before Hamburg Town Court Justice Gerald P. Gorman on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree and one count of Attempted Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, both Class “E” felonies. It is alleged that on September 26, 2019, at 7:15 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Hamburg to attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old female.

Anthony Aronica, 29, of West Seneca was arraigned before Judge Gorman on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree. It is alleged that on September 26, 2019, at approximately 4:20 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Hamburg in an attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was a 14-year-old female.

Kristopher Smoyer, 36, of Amherst was arraigned before Judge Gorman on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree. It is alleged that on September 26, at approximately 6:36 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Hamburg in an attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was a 14-year-old female.

“I want the residents of Erie County to know that my office, along with our federal, state and local partners in law enforcement, is committed to protecting our children. We will continue to work to identify these predators and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn. “I also want encourage parents to be vigilant about the dangers of adults illegally soliciting children on the internet and to monitor communications received by their children on social media.”

No return court dates are available at this time as the criminal cases against these defendants are pending.

DA Flynn commends FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, Detective Hockwater of the Cheektowaga Police Department, Det. Sgt. Paul Randall of the Town of Hamburg Police Department, and the New York State Police for their work in these investigations.

All of the cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bethany A. Solek of the DA’s Special Victims Bureau.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.