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      Mark Carrigan found guilty on 17 counts in sex abuse trial

      Mark Carrigan

      Syracuse's most prolific sex offender has been found guilty of sex abuse on 17 counts.

      The prosecution and defense made their closing arguments in Mark Carrigan's sex crimes trial Wednesday.

      Judge Thomas Miller gave the jury instructions on the charges just before 11:30 Wednesday morning. The jury started deliberations after a break for lunch and delivered a verdict just before 5:30 p.m.

      Carrigan was initially charged with 22 offenses, including four felony child sex abuse charges. However, it appears four of the non-felony charges have been dropped, leaving 18 charges still pending.

      Prosecutors say Carrigan gave children money, drugs and cigarettes in exchange for sexual acts.

      Carrigan has a long history of sex abuse charges, and Syracuse police have said he may be the city's most prolific sex offender.

      During his closing argument, Carrigan's attorney said the alleged victims provided inconsistent dates and information. At one point Carrigan's attorney compared the charges to a soap opera, and said Carrigan was just trying to help many of the children.

      The prosecution argued that Carrigan groomed children who were uneducated with troubled home lives and little parental supervision. During closing the argument, the prosecutor acknowledged that the victims may have had trouble with exact dates but said they told consistent stories of sexual acts.

      At one point Carrigan interrupted the prosecution's closing argument, pointed into the audience and shouted "Why didn't he go arrest the guys I told him about?"

      Judge Thomas Miller warned Carrigan that he would be removed if he interrupted again.