BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A federal judge sentenced former New York State Senator Marc Panepinto to two months in prison on Friday, to be followed by one year of supervised release.
Panepinto, 53, was convicted of a public corruption charge following an incident involving a staff member. Prosecutors say the incident happened while Panepinto was serving as state senator for the 60th district, which covers parts of Erie County including Grand Island, Hamburg and Orchard Park.
Prosecutors say in January 2016, Panepinto took a fundraising trip to New York City with a female staffer. During the trip, the staffer said Panepinto made "unwanted verbal and physical sexual advances" in a hotel room. After returning to Buffalo, the staffer resigned and a state ethics commission launched an investigation.
In an effort to lessen the blow from that investigation, Panepinto asked another staff member to meet with that woman and offer her money for her silence. According to investigators The female staffer attended the first meeting on March 7, 2016, but refused a follow-up meeting.
On March 15, 2016, Panepinto announced he would not be seeking re-election to the New York State Senate.
Panepinto served as State Sentator for the 60th Senate District between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016.
Panepinto entered a guilty plea in June of this year. At the time of the plea, Panepinto released the following statement:
“So that everyone impacted by my actions may hopefully move on, I agreed with the US Attorney’s office to enter into a plea agreement. I certainly understand that my actions were not appropriate and that they had hurtful consequences. For that, I am truly sorry. The love and support of my family over the last two years has allowed me to navigate through this difficult time.”
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