Tonawanda News

January 3, 2014

McNamara court appearance adjourned

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Niagara County prosecutors have still not decided whether they will retry Bradley McNamara, the North Tonawanda man accused of allegedly abusing his stepdaughter.

McNamara was set to appear in court Thursday to discuss his case’s next steps, but the matter was adjourned for the second time. He is set to be back in court Jan. 27.

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.  

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 said he sexually abused her every night or every other night after tucking her into bed.

McNamara allegedly began touching the girl’s 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.