Former Amenia man loses appeal to his conviction of sexual abuse

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POUGHKEEPSIE – A former Amenia man, who pled guilty in Dutchess County Court to sexual abuse in the first degree in September 2017, had his Appellate Division appeal rejected.

During the evening hours of May 27, 2017, when Jake Wheeler was 25, he pulled down the pants and underwear of his 16-year-old niece and touched her buttocks while she was sleeping in his living room.

At his plea proceeding prior to pleading guilty, he waived his right to be indicted by a grand jury and agreed to proceed by a superior court information charging him with sexual abuse in the first degree.

On a single occasion during the proceeding, the prosecutor mistakenly stated the superior court information charged Wheeler with the crime of attempted sexual abuse in the first degree. Throughout the rest of the plea proceeding, the court and prosecutor repeatedly referred to the charge as sexual abuse in the first degree “and the defendant clearly entered a plea of guilty and factually allocated to that offense,” the appellate court ruled in its December 23 decision.