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Long IslandCrime

Former LI priest, convicted sex offender, re-arrested upstate

Rev. Michael R. Hands, a former Long Island

Rev. Michael R. Hands, a former Long Island priest who was convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 2003, has been indicted on child sex abuse charges upstate. Photo Credit: Rockville Centre Diocese

A former Long Island-based priest who was convicted in 2003 of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy has been indicted on child sex abuse charges upstate.

Michael Hands, 51, of Herrington Hill Road in Greenwich, was arraigned Tuesday on a nine-count indictment that prosecutors said stems from his sexual contact with a child in July.

Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said that Hands lured the child to a meeting using the internet and then sexually abused him.

The charges include four counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, third-degree sex abuse, first-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor, promoting sexual performance by a child, use of a child in a sexual performance and endangering the welfare of a child, Heggen said.

Hands was remanded to the Saratoga County jail on $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond. Jail officials said Tuesday that he had not posted bail.

His attorney, James Tyner of Latham, could not be reached for comment.

Heggen said the court had not set a new date for his next appearance because Tyner requested time to prepare for the case.

Hands, a defrocked priest who was once assigned to the Diocese of Rockville Centre, pleaded guilty in February 2003 in Suffolk courts to the sodomy and attempted sodomy in August 2000 of a 14-year-old boy whose family he met while a parish priest, according to state records and media reports.

He also was sentenced in Nassau courts to a 6-month jail term with 5 years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to five counts of sodomy and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in assaults on the same boy he abused in Suffolk.

In exchange for cooperating in a Suffolk County grand jury probe into charges of sex abuse in the Rockville Centre diocese, Hands spent about 15 months in prison and was released in April 2004, serving both terms concurrently.

Officials at the Diocese of Rockville Centre could not be reached for comment.

As a Level 3 sex offender — those deemed most likely to re offend — Hands must register as a sex offender for life. His picture, address and crime of conviction are posted in the New York State online sex offender registry.

With Michael O’Keeffe

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