DA, mother object to plea deal in abuse case

Howard Draper / file photo

A local woman is speaking out against a proposed plea deal for the man accused of sexually abusing her seven-year-old daughter. Action News is concealing the identity of the woman. She says, "the plea deal that's currently is being offered... enables child predators to continue to abuse children... I felt the deal that's being offered now is definitely an injustice to my family."

The accused is Howard Draper, a 34-year-old combat veteran who has been featured in the news on several occasions. Action News interviewed Draper in a report about National Guard recruiting two years ago. Draper faces two counts of sexual abuse first degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child involving the woman's daughter. Onondaga County Court Judge John Brunetti has reportedly offered him one year in jail over the objection of the Onondaga County District Attorney's office.

Complicating matters is the fact that Draper was arrested last November on a separate charge of First Degree Sexual Abuse involving a 14-year-old girl in an unrelated incident. That case is still pending.

Action News has obtained a copy of a letter the District Attorney's office sent to Judge Brunetti December 30th which implies that the Judge has imposed type of formula for handling sex offender cases based on "prior unrelated cases with similar charges." The letter claims that is wrong and says, "each case and each defendant must be judged as individuals." The letter refers to three other letters the D.A. has sent to Judge Brunetti complaining of his handling of similar cases. When asked to comment on the plea negotiations, Chief Deputy District Attorney Rick Trunfio said it would be "inappropriate and against our ethical canons to comment on any final disposition before it happens."

Brunetti's office says he is "not able to comment."

The attorney for Howard Draper has not returned our call. He is due to appear before Judge Brunetti Friday.

Draper could get up to two consecutive sentences of seven years in prison. When asked what she would see as justice in this case, the alleged victim's mother replied, "I feel I would never have justice. My child going through a life sentence knowing she was abused, there's no justice for that."