Mayfield man convicted of sex abuse

JOHNSTOWN — A Fulton County Court jury on Tuesday found a Mayfield man guilty on all three counts — including two felonies — for the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old girl, who was also coerced and endangered in 2019.

The jury found Bryan C. Knapp, 33, of 131 Brower Road, town of Mayfield, guilty of: first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree coercion, both Class D felonies; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.

A news release issued by the office of Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown stated that at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday, a Fulton County Court jury returned the guilty verdict against Knapp. The four woman, eight man jury deliberated for approximately 2 ¢ hours.

Knapp faces a maximum sentence of 2 1/3 to seven years in state prison on both felony convictions, and one year in the Fulton County Jail on the misdemeanor conviction. He is due to be sentenced before Acting County Court Judge Traci DiMezza at 1 p.m. Sept. 28.

Conviction for first-degree sexual abuse will require he register as a state sex offender under the state Sex Offender Registration Act.

The release noted the case against Knapp stems from an investigation that began on June 22, 2019, after a complaint was made to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office of an incident at the defendant’s 131 Brower Road residence involving Knapp and a child who was 11 years old when the sexual abuse occurred. The victim was 13 years old when the coercion and endangering occurred, authorities said.

Knapp was arrested by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 30, 2019 on charges of first-degree coercion, a felony; and third-degree coercion and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors.

A sheriff’s news release at the time said Knapp endangered the welfare of a child “when he compelled or induced a child to engage in conduct in which the child had a legal right to abstain from.”

According to evidence at trial:

Members of the sheriff’s office obtained statements from the victim who stated she had been sexually abused by Knapp, who later threatened to destroy her phone if she did not show intimate parts of her body to him. The victim provided deputies with text messages from Knapp in which he repeatedly asked for inappropriate photographs of the victim. She also told the sheriff’s office members of a “peep hole” that Bryan Knapp drilled in her bedroom wall so he could watch her undress.

After speaking with the victim, police located the “peep hole” and then interviewed Knapp, the release said.

Knapp gave a three-page written statement admitting to threatening the victim in order to see her in various states of undress and confirmed the majority of what the victim told the police occurred.

“This case was the result of hard work by members of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office and ultimately would not have been possible without the testimony of a brave girl who spoke up and told her story of abuse to strangers in a courtroom,” the release said. “Thank you to the jurors who heard what she had to say and returned verdicts that were consistent with her testimony.”

The prosecution led by Assistant District Attorney Katherine Ehrlich called seven witnesses.

Defense attorney Stephen Coffey of Albany called two witnesses for the trial before DiMezza, which began on July 12 with jury selection.