Updated 09/20/2012 03:40 PM
Funeral home owner sentenced to probation
A Cazenovia funeral home owner has been sentenced to three years probation and enrollment in the sex offender counseling and treatment status program. But he does not have to register as a sex offender. Brian Tait pleaded guilty to one count of sex abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a child after being accused of giving inappropriate physical exams to potential female employees. Our Katie Gibas tells us the reasoning behind the sentencing.
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MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. -- Even though Brian Tait won't be spending any time in prison, it was a sentence both the prosecutor and defense attorney agree on because it was justice without a trial.
"This is the better resolution in that one that we get to hold over him or the watch of the sword of Damocles for three years. And the girls did not have to testify," said Stephen Dunshee, the appointed special prosecutor for the case.
Defense attorney Emil Rossi added, "It gives the court control over the defendant. And it's control that I don't shrink from at all because I know he will do well on probation because I know he's committed to putting this entire matter behind him."
But the people who didn't agree are the victims who said Brian Tait made them undress to "test" how the chemicals used in the embalming process would react with their skin. They say Tait claimed it was an employment requirement.
In December, State Police charged Tait with four counts of third degree sex abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
"One of the victims asked me, I thought it was the best question, 'If this guy has five or six misdemeanor charges, why isn't this a felony?' That's a good point. As an example, if you wrote a bad check, that's a bad check, but if you write more than a couple of bad checks and float them around, that's a scheme to defraud, so by analogy, shouldn't that follow? That's something up to our legislature to determine. But that's a good suggestion," said Dunshee.
In July, Tait pleaded guilty to one count of each. Both are misdemeanors.
"Defendants with no criminal history, the judge will give them a local jail, a couple of months, do a conditional discharge, then he's out in a year. This will keep him on the hook for three years. And as I said before, probation isn't easy. It's tough. And he has to comply with the terms and conditions of the sex offender status program. And that's hard," said Dunshee.
Tait will have to undergo counseling, but will not have to register as a sex offender.