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AUBURN — An Auburn man facing sexual abuse charges in Wayne County was sentenced to prison Thursday for violating his probation from an early conviction.  

Vince M. Ferris, 22, of James Street, was arrested in November by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and charged with first-degree sexual abuse. It was alleged Ferris sexually assaulted a 1-year-old at a residence in the town of Wolcott, according to a sheriff's office press release.

At the time of that alleged crime, Ferris was on probation in Cayuga County for a 2016 conviction of first-degree sexual abuse in Wayne County. He was given a probationary sentence at the time and granted youthful offender status. His probation was transferred to Cayuga County because he lives in Auburn.

When Ferris was in Cayuga County Court Dec. 20 for violating his probation, Judge Thomas Leone remanded him to Cayuga County Jail. 

"I know about your intellectual limitation," Leone said. "But if you think I'm going to let you back on the streets ... it's not going to happen."

Back in court Jan. 10, Chief Assistant District Attorney Chris Valdina said the child's mother discovered Ferris sexually abusing her child when she walked into an apartment to find Ferris sitting next to her child on a bed, Valdina said. Valdina said the mother reported her child was crying at the time.

Because Ferris is on probation for a sex offense, Valdina said, he violated his probation by being with a child unsupervised. The pending sexual abuse charge was Ferris' third violation of probation.

In January, Ferris' defense attorney, Thomas Turturo, said the felony charge was still pending in Wayne County and "the allegations appear to be simply an unsubstantiated allegation by (an upset) neighbor."

In Cayuga County Court Thursday, Leone dismissed Ferris' third violation of probation and instead sentenced him to prison for a previous violation he'd already admitted to. Leone said he doesn't know how Wayne County will handle Ferris' felony charge.

"I am looking at a prison sentence here," Leone said. "And I'm not going to kid anybody here, I'm looking at the max."

In August, Ferris admitted lying to his probation officer and not going to Confidential Help for Alcohol and Drugs, Leone said. In light of Ferris' past admission to violating probation and the seriousness of his underlying charge, Leone sentenced him to 1 1/3 to four years in prison.

Also in court

• Christopher Vanetten, 44, was sentenced for purchasing a motorcycle in August with a check he knew was bad.

At the time of his plea, Vanetten said he purchased a motorcycle in Port Byron using an account with insufficient funds.

In court Thursday, Valdina said Vanetten fraudulently bought the motorcycle and then returned it to get the money — about $3,050. Valdina said Vanetten has committed similar crimes all throughout central New York.

Leone sentenced Vanetten to two to four years in prison, to be served as parole supervision so he can get treatment for his drug dependence. Leone said his sentence will run concurrent to a sentence Vanetten received in Onondaga County, and he will also allow it to run concurrent to a future sentence in Oswego County. Vanetten was also ordered to pay about $3,000 in restitution.

"Drugs totally took this gentleman over," said Norman Chirco, Vanetten's defense attorney. "He appreciates the court's willingness to give him (a drug treatment sentence)."

"I apologize for my behavior," Vanetten said. "I'm looking to change my ways, and I'm thankful for the opportunity."

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Staff writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or megan.ehrhart@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @MeganEhrhart.

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