An Orient farmer accused of sexual abuse accepted a plea deal Wednesday in Suffolk County Criminal Court and will avoid jail time after the felony charges were dropped, his attorney said.
Steven Mezynieski pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, a Class B misdemeanor, his attorney Edward Burke Jr. said in a statement. He was sentenced to one-year probation and a permanent stay away order of protection was issued and will be in effect for two years, according to a Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman.
Mr. Mezynieski, the owner of Driftwood Farms, was arrested by state police last August and charged with first-degree rape and first-degree criminal sex act, which are both Class B felonies, for allegedly restraining a teenage girl with rope and abusing her. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top criminal charge.
Mr. Burke said Mr. Mezynieski was arrested with “much fanfare” last year. The felony charges were dismissed after an “extensive investigation” by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, he added. The DA spokesman confirmed the investigation spanned over a year.
“Mr. Mezynieski felt he owed it to his family to avoid a lengthy trial accompanied by daily press coverage which would affect his children and wife,” Mr. Burke said in the statement. “His family fully supports his decision to take this plea and end this matter.”
There will be no sex offender registration or no sex offender conditions required of Mr. Mezynieski, his attorney said.
“To go from a B felony to a B misdemeanor speaks volumes in the legal world,” Mr. Burke said.
Mr. Mezynieski waived his right to appeal as part of the plea deal, according to the DA spokesman.
WITH JOE WERKMEISTER