November 28, 2021

Cortland man admits molesting boy younger than 11

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Johnathon Storm-Lee Berry, left, sits Thursday with defense attorney Jerome Mayersak in Cortland County Court. Berry pleaded guilty to a single felony in a case where he was accused of molesting three children under the age of 11.

A Cortland man accused of molesting children in 2019 pleaded guilty Thursday in Cortland County Court to performing a sex act on a boy.

Johnathon Storm-Lee Berry, 25, who has multiple listed addresses in Cortland, pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual criminal act, a felony, as part a plea agreement for performing sexual acts on a boy younger than 11 years old between September and October 2019.

This agreement came after he was initially charged in December with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and six counts of first-degree sexual abuse, felonies. He was also charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors, according to court documents.

The original charges came as he was accused of molesting a 4-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy.

He will be sentenced Nov. 5 to 12 years in prison and 20 years of post-release supervision.

Judge Julie A. Campbell said she wasn’t initially persuaded to accept the plea agreement between Assistant District Attorney Jessica Weyant and defense attorney Jerome Mayersak, but understood that during 20 years of post-release supervision, Berry would be returned to prison if arrested in connection with a crime.

That, she said, was “the only reason why” she would go along with the agreement.

She also said that toward the end of his prison sentence, he may be tested to see if he suffers from any mental or emotional issues.

Berry said he suffers from anxiety but takes medication prescribed to him by a doctor to treat it.

Berry’s bond will be set at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.

Berry said in his police 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.

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.

The girlfriend called police after she and Berry got in a fight Nov. 20 and he pushed her down a flight of stairs 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 on 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.
(Berry) touched me,’” and she proceeded to tell the mother of the victims, she told police.

While Berry told police he did touch the children, his deposition also shows he denied an incident in 2018. “It was an accident,” he told police. “I tripped and 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.