Updated 09/20/2012 04:32 PM
Man Faces More Than 300 Sex Abuse Charges
A man from Genesee County is in the Ontario County jail, charged with hundreds of counts of sex abuse. The alleged victims are sisters under the age of 17. An indictment against 41-year-old Michael Lewis of Batavia was unsealed Wednesday in Ontario County Court, charging him with 340 counts.
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Lewis is charged with repeatedly sexually abusing two girls between 12 to 14 years of age in a home in Bloomfield. Ontario County Prosecutor Jim Ritts says Lewis knew the victims and had daily access to them.
"Once he was removed from the house in November, about six months later, the children felt that they were able to talk about it and they were safe and supported, and they disclosed and law enforcement, CPS and the Child Advocacy Center took it from there,” Ritts said.
Ritts says after moving out of the Bloomfield home, Lewis relocated to Batavia, Genesee County.
In addition to predatory sexual abuse against a child, the 340-count indictment also includes rape and endangering the welfare of a child. The endangerment charges stem from threats Lewis allegedly made to two other girls believed to have witnessed the abuse.
Lewis was first arrested in August on one charge of having sex with a minor and authorities say the case grew from there.
"The remarkable thing about this is the ability of the children to recall specific dates and allow us to prosecute each event. There are a lot of people, because they’re children and the nature of what occurs don't recall, it's difficult to prosecute what they did. These kids, they have a really great recollection,” Ritts said.
At the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, Executive Director Mary Whittier says rarely does this type of abuse occur only once. She adds that victims in these types of cases are not the only ones that suffer.
"It affects everybody in the family, whether you were the victim of that particular crime physically, or you were a witness, or it happened to someone you know or love. That is why in terms of treatment and counseling , people treat entire families and siblings, and it's often times just as traumatizing witnessing or being forced to witness as it is for the child going through it," Whittier said.
Lewis is being held in the Ontario County Jail on $250,000 bail. He's due back in court December 5th.
Lewis faces four life sentences if found guilty on all counts.