A man who, as a child, was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Robert Weis, a Hampton Bays resident who worked as a Suffolk County Correction officer, had harsh words for the judge on Tuesday morning as his assailant was sentenced to five years in prison plus five years of probation for his crimes.

“Judge, you’re a coward,” the victim, Michael Neary, told Suffolk County Court Justice Mark D. Cohen, critical that Justice Cohen did not institute a harsher sentence.

At the sentencing, two of Mr. Weis’s victims confronted their assailant. Mr. Weis also made a statement to the court, and to the victims, asking for forgiveness for his actions.

The assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, Laurie Moroff, had asked the judge to impose a harsher sentence and said she was disappointed with the outcome.

While he said he understood why the victims were not happy with the sentence, Justice Cohen said Mr. Weis pleaded guilty and avoided the process of a trial. “I’m of the opinion … this sentence is just, in light of all that happened,” he said.

In December, Mr. Weis had pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, two counts of first-degree sodomy, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and three counts of criminal possession of a firearm. The charges were brought against Mr. Weis on April 4, 2019, after an investigation into the allegations was conducted by Southampton Town Police and Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini’s team.

In March 2019, a 29-yearold man reported to police that he was abused by Mr. Weis several times between the ages of 7 and 17 years old.

When police conducted a search of Mr. Weis’s home, they found three unregistered handguns, 32 long rifles and 50,000 rounds of ammunition. He was also in possession of bulletproof vests, handcuffs and EMT equipment, which he admitted stealing from the Suffolk County Correctional Facility, where he worked.

DVDs, possibly containing child pornography, Mr. Sini said at the time, were recovered from Mr. Weis’s home in Hampton Bays, including one titled “Age Is Just a Number.”

Additionally, Mr. Weis was charged with sexually abusing a child in South Carolina in 2016. Those charges are still pending.

Mr. Weis fostered several children — some with intellectual challenges — over the years, and had adopted four boys at various points.

Minutes before the sentencing on Tuesday, Mr. Neary — who asked The Press to identify him by name, contrary to the paper’s policy of not identifying victims of sexual abuse, because he said he wanted to be available to be a resource to other victims of abuse — told Mr. Weis that he had ruined his life, and what should have been fun memories of childhood were tarnished by the constant sexual abuse he suffered.

He was not the initial victim who came forward but one of two other adults who later accused Mr. Weis of victimizing them as children, and who spoke in court at the sentencing.

Standing in front of the courtroom, trembling and tearing up, Mr. Neary said his family had rented and moved frequently from house to house before settling into a house on Ridgewood Lane in Hampton Bays. That move, he said, had catastrophic consequences. Before it, he said, his life was normal. But things changed quickly.

“When kids move to new neighborhoods, they like to make friends,” he said.

One day, a young Mr. Neary saw a bunch of kids playing outside in front of Mr. Weis’s house, and he went over to introduce himself. After playing for hours, he was invited into the house, where all of the kids went into a room and played with Hot Wheels. But Mr. Neary never told his mother, and she began to worry. So she called the police.

At one point that day, he said, Southampton Town Police detectives visited Mr. Weis at his home, and he invited the detectives inside to see that the kids were playing, “just being kids.” The detectives picked Mr. Neary up and took him home.

But he continued to visit Mr. Weis at his house.

Mr. Weis, he said, would try to get him to take showers at his house, and most times he refused. But one time he agreed. Mr. Weis turned on the water and left the room. Mr. Neary said that after took his clothes off, there was a knock on the door, and it was Mr. Weis.

At that moment, Mr. Weis told Mr. Neary that his father was a thug who could not raise his own children. He also told Mr. Neary that his mother asked him to see if the young boy had hit puberty yet. That was the first time Mr. Weis sexually abused him, he said.

After that, Mr. Neary took a shower and cried the entire time, he said. “I was wondering, ‘It must be normal,’” he said. “It’s not. Not at all.

“I was pissed off he said Dad was a bad dad. He was the best dad I could ask for,” he added.

Over the ensuing years, Mr. Neary said, Mr. Weis would invite him over to help construct things around the yard. The encounters always ended up with him being raped, he said.

It took years for Mr. Neary to come forward. After the years of abuse, he has built a life for himself and has four children of his own.

After coming forward, Mr. Neary said he hopes that at least one other victim comes forward, saying there are several who were victims of Mr. Weis who haven’t been heard from.

He said he did not understand why the judge imposed such a short sentence, saying Mr. Weis should have been put away for much longer.

The second victim to speak at Mr. Weis’s sentencing on Tuesday was William Barrett — who also asked The Press to use his name. Mr. Barrett said the summer he turned 7 was when he made a new friend, who was a co-worker of his father — Mr. Weis.

Mr. Barrett thought Mr. Weis was “the coolest person,” a mentor and a friend. But he was only 7, and his new friend was an adult.

Oftentimes, he went on trips with Mr. Weis. One time, Mr. Weis needed to transport a military truck from Westhampton to Cape Cod, and when they got to the hotel in Cape Cod, Mr. Barrett took a shower. This was the first time, he said, that Mr. Weis exposed himself to him. They also shared a bed, he said.

“I didn’t know that wasn’t normal,” said Mr. Barrett, who also said he never told his parents about what happened. In fact, his parents often wondered what was happening to their son, who at one time was a happy child but later became moody and mean.

Mr. Barrett would continue to visit Mr. Weis at his house, he said, and was eventually raped by Mr. Weis. The abuse went on for 10 years, and during that time, Mr. Barrett would invite his friends over to Mr. Weis’s house. But some of those friends eventually stopped talking to him because of Mr. Weis. He said on Tuesday that he feels like he betrayed “countless” friends by inviting them over to play.

Mr. Weis apologized to the two men in court, admitting he was wrong and that he struggles with his actions. “I never meant to hurt them. I never meant to hurt any of them,” he said. “Whatever I say isn’t going to apologize for anything … I apologize and I never should have done what I’ve done.”

“This certainly is a case that reaches the top of horror,” the judge told the victims. “In the end, both of you have this humanity.”


No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *