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Sentencing of former Niagara Wheatfield student on rape charges delayed

Judge asks for 'sex abuse prevention program' report
Posted at 2:33 AM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 17:33:39-05

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story named the perpetrator. His name has since been redacted because he was granted youthful offender status as part of his sentencing in Niagara County Court on December 1, 2020.

The sentencing of a former Niagara Wheatfield High School student on rape charges has been delayed.

The defendant admitted to raping 18-year-old Taylor Gordon last August and was sentenced to temporary probation.

The defendant appeared virtually before a Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Monday afternoon for sentencing, while the victim and her mother monitor from the courthouse.

But Judge Sheldon called for a sentencing delay because the defendant's attorney did not provide a report from a sex abuse prevention program the defendant has been required to attend under his temporary probation.

The year-long probation in order to earn 'youthful offender status' for the rape he pleaded guilty to the rape last year.

18-year old Taylor Gordon shares her story of rape.

7 Eyewitness News senior reporter Eileen Buckley was the only reporter sitting inside the courtroom for the virtual proceeding.

"I need to see that report," stated Judge Shelton.

The judge told attorneys she needs to see the actual report from the prevention program before she can render her decision. She said that would allow her to make a final determination and it was "imperative" she see the report.

The judge asked the attorney to send the report as fast as possible within the week.

The sentencing was then rescheduled.

The defendant is now scheduled to appear for sentencing September 2 at 12 noon.

Gordon said the defendant raped her in 2018. But he was allowed to continue attending high school even after he was charged with rape. The school only removed him after he pleaded guilty.

7 Eyewitness News Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley sat down with the victim for an exclusive interview with Gordon last October in which she described the traumatic rape.

You can watch that interview here.

Gordon said he sent her text messages saying he was “sorry” and never should have done that to her.

Gordon's mother, Leslie Camp, tells 7 Eyewitness News she is praying he is "not found a youthful offender and that he sees some jail time" for the rape of her daughter.

His year-long probation required he live at home, receive psychiatric treatment and could not visit any sexually explicit sites.

During an August 2019 court appearance, he stated “I am very sorry for what I’ve done, and I hope that the victim can forgive me.”

The principal of Niagara Wheatfield High School resigned last year after he was placed on administrative leave.