ELK COUNTY--The first Return Day for November began at the Elk County Courthouse in Ridgway on Monday at 8:30 a.m. The cold morning and early hour must have proved daunting for the first defendant listed on the docket, Gary Lavern Hanes, 45, of Weedville, as he did not show up on time to enter his plea deal in a drug possession case. Hanes, whose criminal history goes all the way back to 1988, has faced numerous drug charges, DUI's, and financial crimes involving bad checks. Hanes had last been in court on October 11, when the Honorable President Judge of Elk and Cameron Counties, Shawn T. McMahon, released Hanes on his own recognizance (ROR) since he had been unable to post the cash bail that confined him to the Elk County Prison since August when he acquired the current charges. His attorney, George Nejm Daghir, a Court Appointed Public Defender, attempted to reach out to him several times since the October 11 hearing to no avail. Under request from Elk County District Attorney Thomas Coppolo and with no protests from Attorney Daghir, Judge McMahon revoked Hanes' ROR and issued a bench warrant for his immediate arrest.
Frank Martin Sharretts, 45, of Johnstown, also received a bench warrant and revocation of bail when he failed to show up at 10:30 a.m. to enter his plea on a DAI (Driving After Imbibing, PA's term for the more commonly known DUI).
Six defendants were placed into the ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program on Monday. ARD can offer many advantages for first-time offenders charged with certain crimes. This option, defined as a pre-adjudicated disposition of the charges, means that there is no conviction as long as ARD conditions are met. ARD's many advantages come at a price. Fees and court costs can run into thousands of dollars. In addition, the programs required under ARD also carry significant price tags. A DUI charge that's directed into ARD can cost $3,000 to $4,000 or more. Fees include supervision fees, enrollment fees, program costs, and court costs. Attorney fees are separate and are charged on top of this amount. All ARD bills must be paid and settled before you're deemed to have completed the program. If the participants don't pay up in the allotted time, their ARD is terminated, and the prosecution of the original charges resumes. On Monday, accepted into the program were; Albert Dippold, Russell Irvin, Ryan Nester, Geoffrey Preiss, Thomas Shon, and David Uveges.
When the Rainbow Family of Living Light chose Elk County's Alleghany National Forest as a regional gathering place in July of 2021, many feared there would be a dramatic rise in crimes as there had been before in 1999 and 2010. There was a dramatic increase in drug overdose calls during and after the Rainbow Family event, but generally, the event was uneventful, save for one sexual assault. On Monday in Elk County Court, Izayah Leigh Delanoy, 18, of Woodstock, NY, appeared in court to enter into a plea deal with a single third-degree felony charge for corruption of minors. Delanoy, 18, was initially charged with Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI) of a person less than 16 years of age, a felony, indecent assault without the consent of the other person, indecent exposure and corruption of minors – defendant age 18 or older, a felony in the third degree, according to a criminal complaint filed at Magisterial District Judge James Martin's office July 6. Bail was set at $100,000.
The State Police in Ridgway were dispatched to the "Rainbow Gathering" in the area of Forest Road in Elk County on July 6 for a report of a 14-year-old who was allegedly forced to perform a sexual act on an 18-year-old man. As police drove down the main trailhead where the gathering was held, they saw a man with a black and bloodied eye, who reportedly said, "Yep, there is my ride to take me to jail, because I deserve it for what I've done," according to the affidavit of probable cause. As police approached the group, they learned the man was Delanoy, using his New York photo ID. When police interviewed the 14-year-old victim, they and a group of people went to "chill" in Delanoy's tent when he asked everyone to leave but the victim. Delanoy told the victim they were pretty, to which they told Delanoy that they were only 14, and he allegedly said he didn't care. He reportedly kissed the victim and touched them inappropriately with no consent. Delanoy then allegedly committed a sexual act with the victim. The victim reportedly told police they were uncomfortable during the act and with Delanoy touching them inappropriately. During an interview with police, Delanoy allegedly said he knew police were called to the scene because someone reported that he assaulted a 14-year-old juvenile. He said he and the victim were lying in his tent when the actions occurred.
On Monday, Delanoy accepted a plea deal that will see him spend up to the next 24 months in State Prison with a minimum registration required on the Megan's Law website and several years on probation. He faces drug and alcohol counseling, mental health evaluation, and evaluation by SOAB (Sexual Offenders Assessment Board). If Delanoy is deemed a sexually violent predator by the SOAB, he could face lifelong registration. Delanoy's final sentence will be handed down later in Elk County Court once his SOAB evaluation is complete