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Former Volunteer Firefighter/Paramedic Gets 131 Years for Sexual Abuse

Richard Kirk Sr. looked the judge in the eye Wednesday and said he's never sexually abused a child.

"I'm not going to show any remorse for any sexual acts that I did not cause," Kirk said in Oswego County Court.

"I did take responsibility for the physical abuse I did impose on them children. There is no excuse for that, but as for sexual allegations there was none," he said.

Judge James McCarthy reminded Kirk that a jury believed his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Grybowski, and the three boys who testified to the sexual abuse.

The judge then sentenced Kirk to 131 years in state prison. Because of state corrections law, Kirk likely will serve 50 years.

Kirk has already served one year in county jail. The judge said Kirk, who turns 49 next month, will be about 97 when he gets out of prison.

"The jury found beyond a reasonable doubt these acts occurred and they're abominable acts," McCarthy said.

The jury on Jan. 14 convicted Kirk of 25 counts, including charges that he had oral sex with the boys in 2004 when they were 7, 8 and 11 years old.

Kirk also was convicted of touching the boys' genitals and having them touch his genitals; subjecting the 7- and 8-year-olds to excessive corporal punishment; having sex with Grybowski in front of the boys; and "soliciting, requesting or commanding" them to touch Grybowski's genitals.

Kirk was acquitted of raping a 12-year-old girl.

"This stands out as a truly exceptional case. It's probably one of the worst cases I've prosecuted to date," said Oswego County Assistant District Attorney Greg Oakes.

Grybowski, 42, pleaded guilty last year to three counts of attempted first-degree sexual abuse. She is serving a four- to 12-year state prison sentence.

Kirk's lawyer, Richard Mitchell Jr., described his client as a hardworking man, a volunteer firefighter for 17 years and an emergency medical technician for 10 years.

"This is a very difficult case not only for the court and lawyers because of the nature of the charges, but also for a jury because of the nature of the charges," Mitchell said. "I think it is difficult for any jury to maintain that presumption of innocence that we are entitled to because of the nature of the charges. This case, I think, could have gone either way."

Mitchell said there were several inconsistencies in witness statements and a lack of medical evidence in the case.

Oakes said the children are living with the consequences of Kirk's actions. The oldest boy has spent the last couple of years in an institution, and has been "acting out" on other children, Oakes said.

"Hopefully, counseling can treat it," Oakes said.

Kirk has condemned these children to a life sentence, Oakes said.

"What's worse is that the defendant fails to accept responsibility or acknowledge what he did," he said. "He has blamed everything on a corrupt court system."

The judge said he hoped to send a message to the community by sentencing Kirk to 131 years.

"The message is that these acts will not be tolerated," McCarthy said.

After court, a woman who has been caring for the two younger boys for the last three years smiled as she announced that she officially adopted them Friday.

"The boys can now start their life," she said. "It's a beginning for them. It's closure on one end and a beginning on the other. Now, hopefully, they can be boys."

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