November 30, 2021

Police: City man admitted sex acts against 3 children

Abuse suspect in court

J.S. Berry leaving Court

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Jonathan Storm-Lee Berry leaves Cortland City Court on Wednesday after his appearance on charges of molesting three children. Berry made a statement to police implicating himself.

A Cortland man accused of molesting three children over the past two months told police in a statement that the allegations were true.

“I know I denied these allegations at first, but they are true,” Jonathan Storm-Lee Berry told police following his arrest Nov. 27. He appeared Wednesday in Cortland City Court.

Berry, 25 of 64 Owego St. Apt. 5, Cortland, was charged with of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, six counts of first-degree sexual abuse, felonies; three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors, court documents show.

The victims were three children, police said, a 4-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy and 8-year-old boy, all of whom he knew, having lived in their family’s home since October.

Berry said in his statement that he touched one of the victim’s genitals both outside and inside the underwear, and performed a sex act on another victim, according to police depositions from his Nov. 27 arrest.

Defense Attorney Jerome Mayersack entered a not guilty plea on Berry’s behalf.

Berry and his girlfriend moved into the victims’ house in early October as the girlfriend was kicked out of her own home, the woman said in a deposition, which redacted her name.

The girlfriend called police after she and Berry got in a fight with her and pushed her down a flight of stairs on Nov. 20 when the woman confronted Berry about touching the victims, she said. Berry was charged Nov. 20 with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation, in that incident, police records show.

Since Berry and the woman lived in the victims’ house, the woman told police she saw Berry getting up in the morning several times and say he was going to the bathroom, then she would see him leaving the victims’ room.

“After [redacted] told me all this, I asked my kids if Johnny ever touched them,” one of the victims’ parents told police. “[Redacted] just said yeah, but didn’t say anything else and [redacted] just shut down, probably because I spazzed out.”

Berry’s girlfriend also told police she recalled seeing him tickling one of the victims between the legs while the victim was clothed while the victim was playing an Xbox.

“Johnny (Berry) was never arrested for these types of allegations in the past, and I didn’t want him to get away with it and have me be the one who started it all because I know he would beat me for it,” the woman said in her deposition. She has since received an order of protection against Berry.

While Berry told police he did touch the children in the past several weeks, his deposition also shows he denied an incident in 2018. “It was an accident,” he told police. “I tripped an my hand went on [redacted] thigh, I never touched [redacted] inappropriately.” One of the victims told the girlfriend on Nov. 20 that ‘Johnny (Berry) touched me,’” and she proceeded to tell the mother of the victims, she told police.

The woman and Berry were kicked out of the house, the woman told police. “[Redacted] thinks I knew that Johnny was molesting his kids and it was my fault for bringing Johnny in the house in the first place,” her deposition states.

Jonathan Berry’s brother, Lawrence Berry, also faces child sex-abuse charges. His case is in federal court, a charge of conspiring to sexually exploit a child under 5 years old with his wife Brittany Berry.

Lawrence Berry was originally charged in September 2018 by Cortland police. Brittany Berry has since pleaded guilty in the case.

Jonathan Berry remains in the Cortland County Jail on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond. His case now moves to Cortland County Court.