A 28-year-old Albany County man was sentenced Monday to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl diagnosed with high-functioning autism.
District Court Judge Jeffrey Donnell sentenced Cassidy Wayne Thurston to 10-15 years imprisonment on two separate counts of sexual assault in the third degree. The sentences are to be served concurrently, meaning both are served at once.
Thurston pleaded guilty to the third-degree charges in July. In return for his guilty plea, the prosecution dropped two charges of sexual assault in the first degree, which carried longer maximum sentences.
During Monday’s sentencing, Thurston’s public defender, Robin Cooper, requested the judge consider probation or a sentence of 3-5 years imprisonment.
Cooper said her client was a “young man with great potential in front of him.”
In a letter read before the court, however, the mother of the victim stated that the episodes psychologically damaged her daughter.
“This made her have meltdowns for two months straight,” according to the mother’s letter.
“I hate him and I wish he would just disappear,” the mother wrote, and requested the maximum possible sentencing.
The girl told a teacher that her sister’s boyfriend, Thurston, had sexually assaulted her, according to the affidavit.
The girl went to Ivinson Memorial Hospital and later to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, where she told a nurse and a Sheriff’s Office deputy about the sexual assault, according to the affidavit.
A search of the residence where the alleged sexual assault took place revealed a condom as evidence of the allegations, according to the affidavit.
Sheriff’s Office deputies later interviewed Thurston. During questioning, Thurston admitted to having sex with the girl on both occasions as well as knowing her age and diagnosis of high-functioning autism, according to the affidavit.
Thurston allegedly told deputies the girl was a “10-year-old in a 16-year-old’s body.”
Thurston’s bond was revoked and he was remanded to custody.
“You took advantage of a girl on at least two occasions,” Donnell said. “That deserves prison.”