Accused sex offender faces new charges

Howard "Bill" Draper

A third alleged victim has surfaced in the case of accused sex offender Howard Draper.

In Baldwinsville Village Court Thursday morning, Draper pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Justice Elijah Huling set bail for Draper at $15,000 cash, $10,000 insurance bond after Draper's appearance in court.

Draper now faces a total of eight charges involving three victims. As reported by CNYcentral earlier this month, the National Guard combat veteran was the subject of a disagreement between the Onondaga County District Attorney's office and State Supreme Court Judge John Brunetti. In a letter to Brunetti, the D.A. felt the judge was being too lenient in offering Draper a plea bargain of one year in jail.

At the time, Draper had been indicted on two counts each of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child for alleged incidents involving a seven-year-old girl. In November, after the indictment was handed up, Onondaga County Sheriff's Investigators charged Draper with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. Thursday's charges stem two instances in 2003 and 2004 involving a child who was three years old at the time of the first alleged offense.

The mother of that child says she learned of the incidents from a friend of her daughter's, saw the stories about Draper on CNYcentral, and decided to call the Sheriff's Department.

After his court appearance, Draper, who had been free on $5,000 bail was handcuffed by two Sheriff's detectives and taken to the Justice Center. Both Draper and his attorney, Mary Felasco, refused to comment about the latest charges.

The mother of the alleged victim in the plea bargain disagreement says Draper should never have been released on bail. Though bail is only meant to ensure a defendant reappears in court, the mother says it should be used to keep "sex offenders off the street."