April 24, 2019

Couple accused of child sex abuse

A Cortland couple was accused Thursday of molesting and raping a child over 1 1/2 to two years, and possessing child pornography after an investigation begun by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Cortland police arrested Christopher M. Perry, 35, of 89 Bartlett Ave., and his girlfriend Sarah R. Gates, 38, of 3 Kingsley Ave., Thursday after city police worked with the state police Computer Crime Unit to look into the dissemination of child pornography, Lt. Michael Strangeway said this morning.

Police searched Perry’s residence and found photos and videos on his cellphone that implicated him and Gates, Strangeway said in a news release.

Police said Perry and Gates repeatedly sexually abused a girl who is less than 11 years old for 1 1/2 to two years at a residence on Hyatt Street in Cortland.

Perry is charged with 10 felonies:

• Predatory sexual assault against a child.
• First-degree criminal sexual act.
• First-degree rape.
• First-degree sexual abuse.
• Use of a child in a sexual performance.
• Possessing a sexual performance by a child.
• Promoting a sexual performance by a child.
• Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child.
• Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child.
• Another first-degree sex felony.
• Endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
• Unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

Gates is charged with six felonies:

• Predatory sexual assault against a child.
• First-degree criminal sexual act.
• First-degree sexual abuse.
• Use of a child in a sexual performance.
• Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child.
• A third-degree sex felony.
• Endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanor.

Perry and Gates were sent to Cortland County Jail without bail. They are due to appear at 3:30 p.m. today in Cortland City Court.

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