October 27, 2021

12 years in sex abuse case

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Defense attorney Jeromoe Mayersak, left, and Johnathon Storm-Lee Berry sit during Berry’s sentencing Thursday in Cortland County Court. Berry was sentenced to 12 years in prison for molesting an 11-year-old boy.

A Cortland man was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison for performing a sex act on a boy in late 2019.

Johnathon Storm-Lee Berry, 26, who has multiple listed addresses in Cortland, pleaded guilty Sept. 3 in Cortland County Court 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.

The plea 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.

Judge Julie A. Campbell reiterated a statement she made Sept. 3 that the sentence — 12 years followed by 20 years of post-release supervision — wasn’t long enough, and if Berry committed another crime during his post-release supervision, he would be returned to prison on the same length sentence.

She also cited a statement made by the victim’s parent, who knew Berry, about the pain Barry’s actions caused the family and how the children are getting counseling to cope with the abuse.

“You abused these children while they were left in your care,” Campbell said.

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Weyant said she agreed to the plea deal because she didn’t want the victims to re-live the trauma in court, testifying in front of Berry at trial.

An order of protection for the victims was also issued, set to expire in 2039.

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, 2019, arrest.

Berry and his girlfriend had 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, 2019, when the woman confronted Berry about touching the victims, she said.

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, with Berry saying 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.