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Sheriff: DNA links man to 2002 sexual abuse of 10-year-old girl in Clay

Shad Goldthwait in 2018 (Onondaga County Sheriff's Office)

A man previously convicted of sexually abusing two young girls in Oswego County now faces charges for a similar case in Onondaga County in 2002.

Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway announced the arrest of Shad Goldthwait, 37, Wednesday. Goldthwait faces a charge of first-degree sodomy after DNA linked him to the sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl in 2002 in the town of Clay, according to Conway.

Conway said Goldthwait was living with a relative in an apartment complex off Bear Road at the time. Goldthwait, who was 21 at the time, is alleged to have lured the victim, who also lived in the apartment complex but did not know Goldthwait, into a wooded area behind the apartment complex where he then allegedly sexually abused her, according to Conway.

For years Goldthwait was not a suspect in a case, Conway said. That changed when a 2015 New York State Police investigation into sexual abuse of two young girls in Oswego County resulted in the arrest and later conviction of Goldthwait, who had moved to Florida.

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Following his conviction and sentencing to 20 years in prison in May 2016, Goldthwait was required to submit to a DNA test, according to Conway. That DNA was used to link him to the 2002 case in Clay, the sheriff explained. The DNA matched a sample collected from the victim's clothing, according to Conway.

"Thanks to some very thorough evidence collection and then processing of that and going into the DNA databank... we now will be able to close this case with an arrest," Conway said Wednesday. "Unfortunately, in the meantime, he went on to, at least on two other occasions, commit a sexual assault against children. Who knows in that timeframe how many other victims there may be out there.

"We will continue to investigate this to see if there are... other open cases that fit a similar m.o.," he added.

Sheriff Conway said it took a couple of years to make the arrest because investigators wanted to be certain they had the right suspect.

"We knew that he was incarcerated for a lengthy period of time. We wanted to make absolutely sure that this was the person, and I won't go into the details of what that confirmation included, however this person was never a threat to the community in that period of time," Conway said. "It allowed us obviously time to gather with the DA's office and some other matters that we can't divulge here today that eventually led to him being brought here from Attica, doing an interview, doing some more confirmation of this and then being able to charge him."

SEE ALSO | DNA match leads to charge in 1997 sexual assault of 12-year-old girl in Solvay

Conway said Goldthwait was arraigned on May 8, 2018, for the sodomy charge and ordered held on $25,000 cash, $50,000 bond. As of Wednesday morning he was being held at the Onondaga County Justice Center, however Conway expected Goldthwait would eventually be returned to Attica Prison, where he is serving his sentence for the 2016 conviction.

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