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Massena game store owner admits sex act against teen

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CANTON — A Massena game shop owner accepted a last-minute plea deal Monday morning, averting a trial over a 2012 rape case as jury selection was about to get under way.

James M. Roshia Jr, 35, of 11 Cedar St., Massena, pleaded guilty to one count of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act against an 18-year-old woman last year at Time Capsule Games in the village.

“This is a good outcome. He is accepting responsibility for what he did to the victim,” St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé said. “It prevents the victim from having to go through the stress of a trial.”

The assault occurred May 1 at Mr. Roshia’s shop. The 18-year-old woman told police she had been at the store with three other people, two males and a female, shortly before closing when Mr. Roshia asked her friends to leave so he could talk to her alone, according to court documents.

As her friends left the store, Mr. Roshia locked the front door, the woman said.

She told investigators her efforts to get away from Mr. Roshia were unsuccessful, and that he pulled her into a back room, locked the door and forced her to engage in sex acts over a short period. She said she was able to text a male friend asking for help, documents said.

The friend reportedly returned to the store and kicked open the front door, and she was able to get away. She said her friend then reported the incident to village police.

Mr. Roshia was indicted later that month on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree unlawful imprisonment, initially entering not-guilty pleas.

Under his guilty plea Monday morning, Mr. Roshia acknowledged that he forced the woman to perform oral sex on him, Ms. Duvé said.

Monday’s plea also included Mr. Roshia’s acknowledgement of two other incidents that were under investigation but for which he had not been charged. Ms. Duvé said Mr. Roshia was being investigated in connection with accusations that he tried to enlist another St. Lawrence County jail inmate to harm the victim and in connection with a December 2011 robbery at his shop on East Orvis Street. Ms. Duvé said the robbery was staged in order to collect insurance proceeds, although the amount was not immediately available on Monday.

Mr. Roshia faces 10 years in state prison followed by 10 years post-release probation when he appears for sentencing in March, Ms. Duvé said. Mr. Roshia also will have to register as a sex offender after he leaves prison, with the level and terms of his classification subject to a hearing before he is released.

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