SCHENECTADY - Robert Cronin pleaded guilty to first-degree rape of an 11-year-old girl Friday in Schenectady County Court.
Cronin, 33, admitted for the first time publicly that he had sexual intercourse with the child. Previously, Cronin had maintained the girl had been impregnated by a sock containing his semen. He also entered a guilty plea for first-degree perjury for having provided false testimony with his "impregnation by sock" story in a related family court proceeding.
Cronin will be sentenced to 24 years in prison and 20 years of post-release supervision for the the felony rape when he is sentenced on Oct. 10. He will also receive a sentence of two-and-one-third years to seven years in prison for the perjury conviction, but he will serve the sentences for both convictions concurrently.
The plea was presided over by acting Supreme Court Judge Kathleen B. Hogan. Had Cronin exercised his right to a trial, he would have faced a potential sentence of 25 years to life for the first-degree felony rape.
Cronin will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and will be required to abide by an Order of Protection prohibiting any contact with his victim for 52 years.
Cronin has waived his right to appeal the conviction and the sentence that he will receive.
Cronin has been in custody since his arrest in January. The rape occurred in February or March of 2018.
The investigation into the crime began Nov. 15, when local law enforcement and county Child Protective Services received a report that an 11-year-old child was in labor at Bellevue Woman’s Center. The initial investigation was led by a joint effort between the Niskayuna Police Department and Schenectady County Child Protective Services.
"Investigators were unable to immediately confirm Cronin’s identity as the perpetrator of the crime," wrote Assistant District Attorney Michael Nobles in a news release statement.
"Cronin denied ever engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim and voluntarily provided a DNA sample to the Niskayuna Police Department. However, after providing that sample, but before any results were obtained, Cronin acknowledged that DNA evidence would establish his paternity of the victim’s child. However, he continued to deny engaging in sexual intercourse with his victim. Instead, he insisted that the victim had been impregnated by a sock containing his semen," wrote Assistant District Attorney Michael Nobles in a news release statement.
"An action was then brought in Schenectady County Family Court prosecuted by Michael Godlewski of the Schenectady County Attorney’s Office on behalf of Schenectady County Child Protective Services. During those proceedings, Cronin testified over the course of multiple days. In an effort to reobtain access to his victim, Cronin continued to deny ever engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim and repeat the story of impregnation by sock."