WARSAW — In January, Lance A. Riley vowed to take his case to trial and set up a Facebook account to gain community support in his effort to combat charges that he repeatedly raped a child.
He vowed he would “fight to the end,” not only on Facebook but in letters to The Daily News.
So much for that.
On Friday, during an unscheduled appearance in Wyoming County Court. Riley admitted raping the child.
Riley pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree rape with the promise of a 10-year prison term followed by 18 years of post-release supervision, District Attorney Donald O’Geen said.
“This plea is a complete vindication for the victim,” he said in a news release. “Her courage of coming forward is unmatched. For months she has been under attack from members of the defendant’s family with the use of the media, social media, written letters and the “Free Lance Riley” Facebook page. Those days are forever gone with his admission in court on Friday.”
O’Geen said Riley “admitted to forcibly raping the child, who was less than 17 years old at the time of the rape, by strangling the victim during the sexual act.”
Riley was indicted in October and charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of second-degree rape, second-degree promoting prostitution, two counts of second-degree strangulation and endangering the welfare of a child. All but the one rape charge will be dismissed as part of the plea deal.
The indictment accused Riley of sexually assaulting the girl for two years, beginning when she was 13. The allegations include choking the girl to near unconsciousness during the rapes and attempting to prostitute her to other men.
Riley was indicted on similar charges in Livingston County in November, a case that is still pending.
Riley, 38, of Dansville and formerly of Perry, wrote letters proclaiming his innocence.
“I want to assure you as well that yes, indeed, I am innocent,” he wrote. “I refused the plea deals offered by both counties because I deserve my day in court. I wanted the trial.”
Riley, or someone close to him, has been posting to the Free Lance Riley Facebook account up until March 7, two days before he pleaded guilty.
“I prepare for the war that lies ahead,” the last posting says. “The war will be our victory!!”
On March 3, Riley posted “If you know me, then you know I am innocent. I’m not asking that you help pack the courthouse in both counties for trials to show support. There should be a law for false allegations and false imprisonment when there’s no evidence.”
Riley had been scheduled to face trial next week in Wyoming County Court and in May in Livingston.
O’Geen complimented police on the investigation, along with the victim.
“Due to the outstanding investigative work of the New York State Police, the strength and fortitude of the victim and the cooperation of many witnesses we were able to bring justice to the victim and protect society from this person for a long time to come,” he said. “I look forward to the day he is sentenced and sent where he belongs.”
Judge Michael Mohun set sentencing for April 12.