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AUBURN — An Auburn man will spend up to three years in prison for raping and sending naked photos to a young girl.

Todd Klino, 32, was arrested in November and charged with sending explicit images and messages to a 15-year-old girl. A Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the issue began Nov. 12 due to a tip received from the victim's family. The office said the inappropriate relationship spanned several months.

After further investigation, Klino, of 26 Cross St., was also charged with third-degree rape, a class E felony, for engaging in a sexual relationship with the same girl for several months at a local hotel. Klino pleaded guilty to the rape charge and first-degree dissemination of indecent materials, a class D felony, in Cayuga County Criminal Court Jan. 22.

Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann on Tuesday said he was concerned that Klino appeared to be minimizing his behavior and trying to back down from his plea in his pre-sentence report, particularly when it came to having sex with a minor. He said Klino admitted sending naked photos, but stated in the report that he pleaded guilty to the rape because he would likely get less prison time by doing so.

Judge Mark Fandrich said a claim of innocence in a pre-sentence report is not enough to overturn a plea of guilty, and that he was prepared to move forward with sentencing. Klino also indicated he was ready to move forward.

Klino was sentenced to one to three years in prison for his conviction of disseminating indecent materials and two years in prison with 10 years of post-release supervision for his rape conviction. His sentences will run concurrently. He will also have to register as a sex offender, the level of which will be determined before his release. Klino will have to pay various fees, including a $1,000 victim fee. An order of protection was also put in place for the victim.

Also in court

•  A New York City teen will spend up to three years in prison for using counterfeit travelers checks at the Auburn Wegmans.

Dashaun Gray, 19, of Queens, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, class D felonies, in January. He admitted using two counterfeit $100 American Express travelers checks at Wegmans in July 2018. He bought a few items and got change back.

In December, the Auburn Police Department reported it had to travel to New York City to retrieve Gray after the NYC police located him.

Budelmann said a sentence of one to three years in prison on each count was appropriate because Gray had many similar pending charges in Onondaga County and also in Wisconsin.

Fandrich sentenced Gray to one to three years in prison on each charge, to run consecutively, with a shock camp order — a program that stresses discipline, intensive regimentation, work therapy and other services. He was also ordered to pay $200 in restitution to Wegmans.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity you gave me. I made a mistake," Gray said in court.

• A woman was sentenced to prison for scrapping a car she didn't own in Locke in November.

Christina Merithew, 31, identified as homeless in court records, was sentenced to 1.5 to three years in prison for her conviction of fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony. Her crime involved her stealing and scrapping a 2003 Jaguar.

Budelmann said Merithew's pre-sentence report indicates scrapping the car was a drug-seeking behavior, noting she has a history of addiction and mental health issues.

Being her sixth theft-related offense, Merithew's defense attorney John Price said her "long history of substance abuse issues" was "a contributing factor in her entire criminal history."

Price said Merithew is "very determined to get herself clean," and asked Fandrich to consider giving her Comprehensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment program order. CASAT is a three-phase state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision program that begins with six months of substance abuse treatment.

"I recognize that I didn't become an addict over night," Merithew said, adding she expects it to take time to get well and she wants to be in an environment free from drugs.

Fandrich issued Merithew's sentence with a CASAT order so she can receive drug treatment while incarcerated. She was also ordered to pay about $1,400 total in restitution.

• A defense attorney sought a judicial diversion for a Weedsport man who state police say led officers on a 15-mile high-speed chase through Cayuga County.

In August, Brandon Millhoff, 42, allegedly fled from troopers when they tried to pull his vehicle over to execute an arrest warrant. The chase, which began in Cato, ended just outside Auburn and it was called off due to safety concerns. No one was hurt.

Budelmann said Millhoff traveled at speeds over 115 mph and also smashed into three police cars. He was located the day after the chase in a hotel, he added, in possession of a controlled substance and a hypodermic instrument.

When arraigned in October, Millhoff entered a not guilty plea to the nearly 30 criminal charges he faces. He was remanded to Cayuga County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond bail. He has since been transferred to Wayne County Jail, and is still being held on bail.

Attorney Ben Susman said he was requesting Millhoff be considered for judicial diversion. After being professionally evaluated, he said Millhoff was diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, severe, and severe use disorders for opioids, stimulants and nicotine.

While judicial diversion can mean different things, Susman said he was requesting Millhoff to be allowed to participate in an intense in-patient treatment program followed by a probationary period and participation in felony drug court. Prior to participating in felony drug court, Susman said, there would be an agreed-upon prison sentence that Millhoff could face if he doesn't comply with drug court requirements.

Budelmann opposed the request for judicial diversion, saying the defendant previously wouldn't agree to getting treatment and appears to want it now because he's facing prison time.

"I think this was exceedingly serious conduct," Budelmann said, noting Millhoff allegedly threatened to slit his ex-girlfriend's throat and led a police chase while high on drugs.

"The whole story here," Susman said, "is drug-use related. This is exactly what this statute is intended for."

Fandrich said he will defer to Judge Thomas Leone to decide what's appropriate. After court, Susman said that since Leone is the judge for felony drug court he acts as the gatekeeper and will decide whether or not to allow Millhoff to participate.

• Richard Bizardi was arraigned in court on three counts of first-degree perjury.

Bizardi, 43, was arraigned on a sealed indictment and then remanded to Cayuga County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond bail. He is due back in court May 28.

• A Cato woman, already out on bail, was arraigned on four drug-related felonies.

Tabitha Ferguson, 38, of 10636 Shortcut Road, was arraigned on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, class C felonies, and two counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, class D felonies. She entered a plea of not guilty to each charge.

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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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