SCHENECTADY – A local man who fled the country to avoid accusations he repeatedly raped a child in Schenectady was sentenced this week to 18 years in state prison, Schenectady County District Attorney’s officials said.
The judge in the case imposed the sentence in the case at proceedings where the defendant blamed unspecified mental health issues and glue sniffing for his crimes, prosecutors said.
Franklin Betances, 35, appeared in Schenectady County Court Wednesday for sentencing after he pleaded guilty March 6 to one count of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.
He admitted he repeatedly raped a child less than 13 years old from April to November 2017, prosecutor Kyle Petit said.
Schenectady Police initially arrested Betances in January 2018, after he admitted to investigators that he had repeatedly raped the child. His bail was set at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond. His wife then bailed him out of jail and they fled the country together, Petit said.
After Betances failed to show up for court, a warrant was issued for his arrest and a “Red Notice” was put out by INTERPOL for Betances, prosecutors said.
Authorities eventually learned he and his wife had flown to Puerto Rico and then taken a boat to the Dominican Republic. Police in the Dominican Republic then caught up with Betances and he was returned to Schenectady late last year, Petit said.
No charges have been filed against Betances’ wife, but the investigation is continuing, Petit said.
Betances then pleaded guilty in March in exchange for a sentence of between 16 and 19 years. The judge would determine the final number. His sentencing was initially delayed by the pandemic, then by a later-abandoned effort to take back his plea.
At his sentencing Wednesday, Judge Mark Caruso heard from Betances, who attempted to blame his crimes on mental health and sniffing glue at a prior job, Petit said.
The judge also heard from the victim, who spoke to the judge via a statement read in court by Petit.
Caruso then imposed a sentence of 18 years, with 20 years of post-release supervision.
Betances was represented by attorney Lara Barnett.