Schenectady County

Rotterdam dentist admits to touching teenagers

A former Rotterdam dentist admitted in Town Court Monday night to touching the breasts of two teenag

A former Rotterdam dentist admitted in Town Court Monday night to touching the breasts of two teenage patients during exams.

Frank Izzo, 53, who once practiced on Broadway in Rotterdam, pleaded guilty before Justice Kenneth Litz to one count each of second- and third-degree sexual abuse, both misdemeanors.

In exchange for his plea, Izzo is to be sentenced in December to six months in jail.

He also must surrender his dentist license and register as a sex offender. Appearing in Town Court with his attorney, Andrew Safranko, Izzo paused before saying “guilty” to each of the two charges.

In the seconddegree sexual abuse case, Izzo admitted to touching a 13-year-old girl on her breast during a September 2009 dental exam.

In the third-degree sexual abuse case, Izzo admitted to touching a 16-year-old girl in the same manner.

Izzo had faced up to two years in jail, had he taken the case to trial, prosecutor Jessica Lorusso said later.

She said she researched whether more serious charges could be fi led based on the allegations, touching patients as young as 13 in a dentist office setting, but said she and an investigator could find none. Cases with such allegations become felonies only when the age of the victim is 11 or under, Lorusso said.

The original plea offer included no jail time, but six years of probation. Izzo, requested the jail time instead to avoid the long probation period.

Lorusso said she had not spoken with the victims or their families about the change to jail time, but she expected them to be satisfi ed with it.

Several of the victims had been anxious about the possibility of going to trial, she said. The plea deal means they will not have to testify. In all, nine individuals came forward with similar allegations against Izzo related to inappropriate touching. Eight of them were patients and one was an employee. Three were under the age of 14.

Lorusso said she believed the resolution was a good one. In addition to the jail time, she noted Izzo can no longer be a dentist and must register as a sex offender.

Izzo hasn’t practiced since his October 2010 arrest. His license was suspended shortly afterward. His agreement to surrender his license altogether now means he won’t practice again.

Safranko said his client requested the jail time over the probation to get the case and allegations behind him and move on with his life.

Agreeing to the plea deal was the result of a number of factors, Safranko said.

“These are all diffi cult cases,” Safranko said. “This was a case that was in a real gray area. It was a case that, had he gone to trial, we believe we would have had a lot of defenses. But, again, sometimes the risks outweigh the rewards.”

Those risks included both jail time and probation, Safranko said.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 5.

Izzo was originally arrested in October 2010 on multiple misdemeanor counts, accused of touching the breasts of girls during dental exams. The allegations dated back as far as April 2009.

Four victims in the original set of charges were under the age of 17, and two of those under the age of 14, state police have said. Another was in her 20s.

State police officials have described the touches as brief, with excuses or quick apologies given.

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