By CRISTINE MEIXNER
LAKE PLEASANT -- A former custodian at Indian Lake Central School has pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in an agreement that guarantees he will spend a year in county jail and 10 years on probation.
State Police arrested Robert G. Naubereit, 26, Indian Lake, June 3. In this case, Naubereit is guilty of rape in the third degree because, being 21 years old or more, he engaged in sexual intercourse with a person less than 17 years old, a 16-year-old female student.
County Judge S. Peter Feldstein labeled Naubereit as a Level 1 sex offender, which means a low risk of repeat offense, saying Naubereit is not a sexual predator nor a sexually violent offender.
District Attorney Marsha King Purdue said that although she was not willing to reduce the rape third charge, she was willing to offer the plea bargain.
“This is his first encounter with the criminal justice system, but even so I am not willing to reduce the charge of rape third, because the defendant was not only a custodian but also a bus driver,” she said, “and the evidence shows this was not a spur of the moment thing.
“But incarceration should be in Hamilton County Jail. It is my belief he will be living locally; I want him to be supervised by Hamilton County Probation Department.
“He has so much family support including from his in-laws; that was a big consideration in making a plea offer. It is my understanding this was a one-time incident; by requiring probation he will be going for counseling. A 16-year-old girl is a child; the adult has to take responsibility. The defendant started counseling on his own while in jail, which is in his favor; and there was no force here, this was consensual. It doesn’t matter; this was a 16-year-old girl.”
Just before his sentence was handed down Naubereit said, “I would like to say I am sorry for my actions and I am willing to pay the full jail time for what I have done.”
THE JUDGE SPEAKS
Feldstein told Naubereit, “It was my position that the appropriate sentence would be prison for an extended period of time; children deserve our protection, to be safe at the hands of adults, especially those in schools who interact with them on a basis of authority.
“I understand the circumstances as presented to me that led to this event; I can only say a child subjected to sexual involvement with an adult, even under circumstances such as this, suffers harms that affect her perhaps throughout her life, such as difficulty engaging in appropriate sexual relations with men as an adult.
“I am very concerned about the statement of the victim in the pre-sentencing report. I am very concerned she is blaming herself, holding herself to be responsible… a statement needs to be made that this behavior will not be tolerated.
“I am, obviously, not sending you to prison. I believe, as the DA has indicated, that local time with protracted probation is appropriate. The message is this type of behavior cannot and will not be tolerated. I believe it is reasonable, as the DA has indicated, that local time with protracted probation is appropriate.
“I understand this was a single event, that you have taken responsibility, really from the beginning, not trying to pass off your responsibility on to the victim; that people close to you believe you are a person of character for whom this was out of character. This is why you have been assigned Risk Level 1…
“However, I do not want you or anyone else to think this court will not protect children; that is not the case. I do not want others to believe they could also receive such a favorable sentence… We have reason to believe society has no reason to fear you in the future. You need to continue your counseling to give us all reason to hope this is true.”
Attorney Lisa Burgess of Indian Lake represented Naubereit.
The plea agreement means Naubereit waived his right to appeal his sentence. He agreed to a sentence of six months in jail and 10 years probation on the rape third charge and to plead guilty in Indian Lake Justice Court to endangering the welfare of a child. That agreed to sentence him to six months in jail to run consecutively to the county court sentence.
This arrangement allows the 10 years of probation; a prison sentence would not have allowed such a prolonged probation.
There are 36 conditions to Naubereit’s probation; if he violates any of them he would be subject to the maximum sentence allowed by law for the offenses, up to seven years in prison. One of the 36 conditions is he may not enter school grounds where any child under age 18 is present.
Feldstein also issued an order of protection on behalf of the victim, for the maximum period allowed by law, five years from the date of sentencing. Naubereit is not allowed to be in her proximity or to contact her in any way.
HIV TEST UP IN THE AIR
One of the probation conditions requires Naubereit to submit to a HIV test. He had not had one as of his Dec. 13 sentencing; Burgess told the judge she never received a letter requesting the test.
“I’m concerned about this issue,” Feldstein said. “Part of the agreement was he submit to this testing. A letter from the victim was required; since she is a minor the letter would have to come from her family. None has been received. The person most directly affected is the child; I do not want to see her rights defeated. There may be a conscious decision on the part of the family, but silence is not the best indicator of what the intentions of the child are. If the victim were of age and we did not hear from her that would be the end of it, but she is not. I’m going to leave that issue open at this time.”
The DA has the right to make motions on that issue, Feldstein said. Burgess says timeliness is an issue.
Speaking after his court appearance, Naubereit said he does not have a problem with having a HIV test even if the girl’s parents do not ask for one. “I’m fine with it,” he said.
Naubereit was also ordered to pay $1,425 in surcharges, and given one year from his time of release from jail to pay up. The surcharges include DNA testing, the supplemental sex offender fee and the supplemental sex offender victim fee.
All documents containing the victim’s name were ordered sealed.