Tonawanda News

December 13, 2013

McNamara's appearance adjourned

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — LOCKPORT — Following the declaration of a hung jury in October, Bradley McNamara, the North Tonawanda man accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, returned to Niagara County Court on Thursday.

He was set to be in court for a discussion of the case’s next steps and whether it will be retried, but after a discussion between the two attorneys, the matter was adjourned until Jan. 2.

In October, the jury failed to reach a verdict on all four charges — second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act, attempted second-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child. 

McNamara, who owns Juicy Vapor on Niagara Falls Boulevard, appeared professional in court on Thursday in a button-up shirt. He spoke with his attorney briefly, commenting that his store was busy and doing well. 

The case against the 39-year-old rests with the alleged victim’s testimony, as there is no eyewitness testimony or physical evidence. During the trial, the teen, who is McNamara’s step-daughter, said he sexually abused her every night or every other night after tucking her in.

McNamara allegedly began touching her breasts in 2011, and over the course of a year and a half, the abuse escalated to oral sex and attempted rape, the girl testified.

Defense attorney Robert Berkun has argued the teen crafted the story out of a desire to meet her biological father. The sexual stories came from adult apps she had on her phone, he said.

During closing arguments, Berkun said a vibrator McNamara allegedly gave the girl was never found, no semen was found on the bedsheets and the girl was not physically harmed. The teen’s 10-year-old half-sister, who shared a room with the victim while some of the alleged abuse took place, testified that she did not hear or see anything inappropriate.

But Assistant District Attorney Robert Zucco, who prosecuted the case, argued that McNamara had time alone in the home to hide the vibrator after the victim went to police. He was also responsible for updating the family’s phones, and could have installed the apps himself.

Zucco also pointed to medical professionals’ testimony, which indicated that the girl could have been abused despite a lack of physical harm or evidence. The girl, who mumbled often during her testimony, was uncomfortable and had a hard time speaking due to the nature of her testimony, not because she was lying, Zucco said.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.