OBSERVER Staff Report
SALAMANCA A Salamanca man has been convicted in federal court of taking three children across state lines and sexually abusing them.
Kevin L. Donaldson, 47, of Salamanca was convicted after a two-week jury trial of transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of sexually abusing them and witness tampering. Donaldson faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine or both, when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Acara, who presided over the trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron J. Mango and Michael DiGiacomo prosecuted the case.
Evidence unveiled during the trial showed Donaldson, an over-the-road truck driver, made several trips between April 2004 and July 2007 with three of his relatives under the age of 18 across state lines and repeatedly raped them. One of the youths was 13 years old when Donaldson began raping the child, with the conduct continuing over the next three years. Testimony at trial indicated the defendant ignored repeated pleas from the children to stop.
While incarcerated at the Niagara County Jail awaiting trial on the federal charges, Donaldson wrote multiple letters to one of the victims as well as the mother of the victim in an attempt to influence the testimony of the victim. Among other things, Donaldson told the child to testify that "nothing happened."
Prior to Donaldson's conviction in federal court, he was convicted of state rape charges in Cattaraugus County and sentenced to four years in prison.
"Today's conviction brings to a close a tragic chapter in the lives of three young victims," said U.S. Attorney William Hochul. "What makes this case particularly troubling is that the defendant, already a convicted rapist, preyed upon members of his own family. Thanks to today's verdicts, the defendant will never again have the opportunity to repeat this truly perverse conduct."
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children on the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The indictment was the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Christopher M. Piehota, special agent-in-charge, and the Salamanca Police Department under the direction of Gary Wind, Salamanca police chief.