Rochester (WSYR-TV) - A former women's soccer coach at LeMoyne College remains a level two sex offender. That's the ruling from the state's Supreme Court Appellate Division.
In 2010, James Riverso was convicted of sending sexually explicit text messages to three 16-year old girls who played on a youth soccer team that he coached.
Judge John Brunetti used a point system based on risk assessment guidelines to determine that Riverso would be labeled a level two sex offender, requiring him to remain registered for the rest of his life. Riverso appealed for a lower assessment.
Friday, the court ruled with one dissension, that the risk level handed down by Judge Brunetti would stand.
Riverso was assigned 20-points per guidelines assessed on the basis that "the offender's crime[s]...arose in the context of a professional or avocational relationship between the offender and the victim[s] and was an abuse of such relationship[s]. Each of [those] situations is one in which there is a heightened concern for public safety and need for community notification," according to the decision.
Riverso's criminal offense was not related to his job as a coach at LeMoyne College. He knew the girls through a youth soccer team. His lawyer argued that completion of a sex offender treatment course should have played a larger role in court proceedings.
The Appellate Division concluded that there was convincing evidence that the defendant still has a "moderate, rather than a low, risk of reoffending."
According to the ruling issued Friday, evidence presented at a Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) hearing established that the defendant "transmitted sexually explicit text messages to at least three girls whom he coached on the soccer team; that he had sexual contact with two of those girls in his vehicle; and that he attempted to engage in sexual activity with two of those girls at a hotel while attending out-of-town tournaments".
The one dissenting justice felt that some factors were not taken into account with risk assessment guidelines. He also referred to expert testimony from a clinical psychologist who provided treatment to Riverso and found he posed a low risk of reoffending. In the dissension, the defendant's response to treatment was described as "exceptional".