Montgomery County

Montgomery County jury begins deliberations in Amish sex abuse case

In his closing argument Monday, Montgomery County District Attorney Jed Conboy told a County Court j
Robert Madsen
Robert Madsen

In his closing argument Monday, Montgomery County District Attorney Jed Conboy told a County Court jury that Robert Madsen is a “classic predator pedophile” who sexually abused six Amish boys from two western Montgomery County families over several years.

Conboy said Madsen, who denies any wrongdoing, invited the boys to work on his St. Jonhsville farm, at which time he discussed bodily functions and clothing before progressing to touching them and performing oral sex.

“He had to groom them before he went all the way with them,” Conboy told the jury.

Madsen, 48, is standing trial on more than three dozen counts that, if convicted, could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

The allegations against Madsen date to 2006 and involve boys as young as 12 at the time of the abuse. The most serious charge, predatory sexual assault against a child, carries a penalty of up to 25 years to life.

Madsen appeared visibly shaken in court Monday, often wiping tears from his eyes as attorneys gave their closing arguments before presiding Judge Felix Catena.

Conboy told the jury that there is a sense innocence in the Amish community and they have a different culture than everyone else.

“They don’t listen to rap music or watch the television,” he said. “Madsen robbed them of their innocence.”

The allegations came to light in January 2014 when a then 20-year-old Amish man contacted a neighbor with ties to law enforcement.

As the investigation progressed, state police said they found two of his brothers were also abused. They also learned three males in a second family from a different Amish community had had contact with Madsen. All said they were abused.

During proceedings last week, Conboy emphasized the two families were from different Amish communities, did not worship together and did not send their children to the same school. Their only connection was Madsen, he said.

Conboy said that in his grand jury testimony, Madsen’s son recalled his father telling him that “he won’t be proud of what he did but he will be proud of how he handles it.”

But Madsen’s attorney, Stephen Coffey, says that the St. Johnsville farmer, who is gay, did not have sexual relations with the alleged victims until they turned 17, the legal age of consent in New York, so it wasn’t a crime.

He said that one accuser even traveled from Stone Arabia to St. Johnsville to have sex with Madsen in a cabin on his property.

“Though it was morally wrong for him to have sex with him because the man was married, it is not a crime,” Coffey said, during his roughly 90-minute closing argument.

Coffey attempted to prove that the two Amish families worked together to craft a story that would convict Madsen.

“Do you think they didn’t talk to each other before coming forward?” Coffey asked the jury. “It is absurd to think they didn’t know each other. Don’t think they didn’t have communication and they didn’t talk to each other.”

The case was adjourned Monday and the jury will reconvene Tuesday to continue deliberating. Madsen is free on bail.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

Leave a Reply