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AUBURN — An Auburn man pleaded guilty in Cayuga County Court Tuesday to possessing child pornography.

Jeffrey Lee, 48, was arrested in July and charged with one count of possessing a sexual performance by a child, a class E felony. The arrest followed a 10–month investigation which involved the Auburn Police Department, the state police's Forensic Crimes Unit, Homeland Security Investigations Unit and the Cayuga County District Attorney's Office.

Cayuga County Judge Mark Fandrich said Tuesday that from about April 1, 2016 to Nov. 7, 2017 Lee "knowingly had" images of a sexual performance of a child. Fandrich said the image depicted a girl, approximately 5 years old, engaged in sex with an adult male.

"I possessed a sexual performance of a child ... on my computer," said Lee, of 53 Bradford St., during his guilty plea. He confirmed he knew he had the image and that he downloaded it from the internet.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Lee will likely be sentenced to one to three years in state prison with a recommendation for an Assessment and Program Preparation Unit program, Fandrich said. Lee waived his right to appeal and will also have to register as a sex offender and have a risk level assessment hearing before his release from prison. The maximum sentence for possession of sexual performance by a child is 1 1/3 to four years in prison.

Lee's defense attorney, Michael Vavonese, requested Fandrich recommend the APPU program, which he said is for vulnerable adults. Documents from the state's Department of Corrections and Community Supervision describe APPU as a program for offenders who need protective custody. It is segregated from the general facility population and is for offenders who may be victimized due to physical stature, weak personality, nature of crime, notoriety or other appropriate condition. The program aims to assess needs, teach coping skills and help reintegrate the offender into the general population.

Lee will remain out on $7,500 cash bail until his April 2 sentencing.

Also in court

• An Auburn man pleaded guilty to assaulting a male victim with various household objects due to a dispute over a woman. 

On July 4, Kyle Jetty, 24, attempted to cause injury to another man by striking his "head, face and body" with a chair, table and wooden rod, Fandrich said in court.

Although initially charged with second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, both class D felonies, Jetty's plea to one lesser count — second-degree attempted assault, a class E felony — satisfied his entire indictment.

"I got into an altercation ... and caused some injuries," Jetty, of 8 Orchard Ave., said in his plea. He confirmed he intended to injure the victim when he assaulted him with the makeshift weapons.

The Auburn Police Department previously reported Jetty attacked the victim as a result of a dispute over a woman. The victim suffered multiple lacerations to the head that required hospitalization and staples. Jetty's arrest report indicated he was impaired by alcohol at the time of the assault.

While the maximum sentence for second-degree attempted assault is 1 1/3 to four years in state prison, Fandrich will likely sentence Jetty to one to three years in prison, order he pay $310 in restitution and put an order of protection in place for the victim.

Jetty was remanded back to the Cayuga County Jail, in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond bail, until his April 2 sentencing.

• An Auburn man was arraigned on felony charges following the execution of a Finger Lakes Drug Task Force search warrant this month.

Michael Gainey, 33, was arraigned on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony, for allegedly possessing a loaded firearm; and class D felonies of second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly possessing an assault weapon.

Gainey pleaded not guilty to all three counts, and his defense attorney, Rome Canzano, argued for bail to be lowered from $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond to $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond. Canzano said Gainey's criminal history was "from some time ago," and noted he's working, married and has five children. Even though Gainey cooperated with his arrest warrant, Canzano also said he will be exploring some potential issues with the warrant and how it was executed.

District Attorney Jon Budelmann said he thought the original bail was appropriate given Gainey's 2006 second-degree attempted assault conviction, a handful of failures to appear in court on misdemeanor charges and youthful offender offenses.

Fandrich said bail would remain as set. Gainey is due back in court April 2.

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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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