Jury Finds Thornton Guilty Of Sexually Abusing Children

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A Canton man faces a minimum sentence of 25 years to life after his conviction on all four counts involving the sexual assault of two girls.

Richard Thornton, 37, buried his face in his hands and broke down crying as the jury's guilty verdict was read in St. Lawrence County Court.

It took the 7 woman, 5 man jury a little more than four hours before convicting Thornton on felony counts of predatory sexual assault, course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

Thornton, who never testified in his own defense, was led from the courtroom in handcuffs and remanded to the county jail until his August 13 sentencing.

Thornton's attorney says an appeal will be filed.

Following is our story from Wednesday:

A St. Lawrence County Court jury is deciding the fate of 37 year old Richard Thornton of Canton.

Seven women and five men began deliberations in the sexual abuse case at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
 
Thornton of 181 Rice Road was originally charged with sexually abusing three young girls but was only indicted on charges he molested two girls, ages 10 and 14, over a period of several years.

In her closing argument, Thornton's lawyer told jurors it was a case of "she said-he didn't"  - accusing the victims of "inconsistent and extremely vague stories."

Chief Assistant District Attorney Amanda Nissen attacked Thornton's credibility, integrity and morals as part of her closing argument to the court. 

Thornton is a well-known businessman in the Canton community.

Saturday, October 25, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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