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81-year-old Cleveland art appraiser and attorney convicted of child molestation get 6-month prison sentence

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A judge on Tuesday sentenced an 81-year-old art appraiser who tried to meet an undercover agent posing as a teenager online to six months behind bars.

But James IW Corcoran isn’t headed straight for jail.

Instead, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Andrew Santoli allowed Corcoran to remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction for attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor, unwelcome and possession of criminal tools.

Corcoran, who an agent with Ohio’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force called a “monster” during Tuesday’s hearing, will not be allowed to use the internet while he appeals his his case, ordered Santoli.

A jury found Corcoran guilty of the crimes after a two-day trial in April in which his lawyer argued that Corcoran believed he was chatting with an 18-year-old man on the Manhunt hookup site in May 2021. The website asks users de say they’re 18 and displays each user’s presumed age next to their profile name, and the agent’s profile listed him as 18, according to a testimony.

The agent, however, said in messages to Corcoran that he was doing his homework and living with his mother, whom he called “this 15-year-old life”, and that he was free to meet up in the evenings. The officer also said he was sexually inexperienced and had only had alcohol once.

ICAC officers in Ohio arrested Corcoran when he showed up at a Newburgh Heights home that the officer said was his. He was one of 31 people arrested in an operation dubbed “Operation Deja Vu”.

Corcoran, whose lawyer said he was unaware that the ‘this life of 15 years’ message referred to the officer’s age, then sent the officer sexually explicit messages before reporting to the court. house where the two agreed to meet with a bottle of beer, condoms and lube.

Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutors Kelly Mason and Fallon Radigan told jurors that Corcoran was a “predator” who hooked up with Manhunt in an effort to find a child to have sex with. But they also said jurors need only find that Corcoran acted recklessly in talking to the officer and agreeing to meet him for sex, and that his reckless actions led to the possibility that he could abuse a child.

Corcoran, who uses a wheelchair, admitted in court on Tuesday that his actions were reckless and said he had already suffered a lot.

“I was clearly extremely reckless and stupid,” he said.

Corcoran said he was “destitute” and would continue to suffer economically as he would lose his law degree and art appraisal certificates following his conviction.

“I’m really sorry about what happened,” he said. “I think I suffered as much as I could.”

Lawyer Jay Milano, whom Corcoran hired to replace his attorney after his conviction, argued during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing that it was possible jurors found Corcoran guilty of acting inappropriately. recklessly and asked the judge to sentence him to probation rather than jail.

Importuning in undercover sexual sting cases is a fifth-degree felony, the lowest-level criminal offense, but carries a presumptive jail sentence.

Milano argued that Corcoran – who has myriad health issues, has never been convicted of a similar act and has led a successful, law-abiding life for eight decades – isn’t among the worst offenders and could overcome that. presumption.

Milano repeated Corcoran’s claim that he didn’t know what “that 15-year life” was supposed to mean. He may have been reckless in not verifying the age of the person he thought he was meeting, but he was not trying to have sex with a child, Milano said.

“The people who do this intentionally, aren’t they the ones who go to jail? Milan asked.

Milano submitted letters from three of Corcoran’s friends, two of whom asked if Corcoran was guilty. One of the friends said he believed Corcoran was set up.

Deputy Cuyahoga County District Attorney Kelly Mason and Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force agent Justin Rotili told Santoli that Corcoran deserved jail time.

“We hear all the time that this is a victimless crime because there is no real child, but just think if there was,” Rotili said.

He later added that Corcoran should go to jail “to protect future children from this monster”.

Mason, who pursued the case with Cuyahoga County Assistant District Attorney Fallon Radigan, called Corcoran a “predator.”

“Children in the community need to be protected from Mr. Corcoran,” Mason said. “He needs to be punished, and we need to deter others like Mr. Corcoran from doing the exact same thing.”

Mason also testified in court Tuesday that CrimeStoppers received two anonymous tips in 2017 that Corcoran had child pornography on his computer to refute Milano’s claim that he had a good reputation in the community.

Milano later pointed out that investigators “had the ability to research everything he did” and found no evidence to support the 2017 allegation.

Santoli told Corcoran that he had seriously considered Corcoran’s case.

“I probably thought about that sentencing hearing more than any other case I had while on the bench,” he said. “The crimes here are serious. You have lived a successful life.

Santoli said Corcoran did not overcome the presumption of the unwelcome crime with a prison sentence, but he believed the minimum sentence was appropriate.