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Former Java man pleads guilty in federal sex case involving minor
By SCOTT DESMIT, email@example.com
A former Java man who avoided a possible life in prison sentence when child sex assault charges were dismissed in Wyoming County now faces at least 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Nicholas B. Turnquist, 36, now of West Falls in Erie County, plead guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to transportation and attempted transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, with a maximum of life and a $225,000 fine. The plea came on the day jury selection was scheduled.
Turnquist admitted that beginning in 2012 he began sexually assaulting the girl who was 14 at the time. The assaults continued for years, including in 2014 when he transported the girl, then 16, to Pennsylvania to engage in sexual activities.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia, the East Aurora Police Department, under the direction of Chief Shane Krieger, and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Gregory Rudolph.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge John L. Sinatra.
In 2021 Turnquist avoided a possible life in state prison term after all charges were dismissed against him. At that time he was on trial in Wyoming County Court for predatory sexual assault of a child and second-degree rape.
At the end of the trial, his attorney, Scott Riordan, asked Judge Michael Mohun to dismiss the case. Mohun agreed, citing the conflicting testimony of the victim, including details about the timeline of the abuse.