Categorized | Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime

Corrections Officer Sentenced to Probation in Sex Abuse Case

The 6-foot-3-inch muscular defendant entered the court in a beige trench coat. His hair closely shaven in a buzz cut, Dominick Labruzzi checked his phone and yawned loudly while the court proceedings began. Intermittently his defense attorney, Benedict S. Gullo Jr., took him outside the courtroom to hash out the final details of the plea bargain he took on Dec. 15.

It was a no-fuss delivery of a three-year probation sentence Thursday at the Bronx Supreme Court as Labruzzi, a former captain with the Department of Corrections at the Adolescent Reception and Detention Center at Rikers Island, accepted his punishment.

Accused of sexual abuse by a dozen inmates between the ages of 16 and 19, Labruzzi never went to trial. In the plea bargain, the 32 charges against Labruzzi were dropped except one: Endangering the welfare of a child.

“All charges accusing him of sexual abuse will be dismissed once he’s sentenced,” Gullo said. “It will say on his record that he did not touch the private parts of the inmates.” In addition to probation, Labruzzi will not be allowed to enter the homes of his clients, a component of his new sales job.

Gullo claimed that the case against his client was weak.

“A lot of times inmates retaliate because they don’t like the captain,” he said. “All these complaints are from people who have a criminal record.”

In 2006 the city’s Department of Investigation released a press statement about the investigation into the abuse cases against Labruzzi:

“Labruzzi allegedly took the eight inmates on 10 separate occasions to a secluded, locked area within [the Adolescent Reception and Detention Center]. Once there, Labruzzi allegedly inappropriately touched the inmates’ genitals through their clothing, forced them to disrobe, asked them to stand or squat before him, and fondled some inmates’ genitals or buttocks.”

Labruzzi declined to comment and offered no final words on the case to Judge John S. Moore of State Supreme Court in the Bronx.

Gullo said that two of the inmates who filed charges against Labruzzi were deported. The prosecutor, Assistant Bronx District Attorney Alexandra Militano, declined to comment.

But Judge Moore did have the last word before accepting the deal reached by Militano and Gullo:

“The department does recommend jail,” he said. “There are reasons also why ultimately there is a plea bargain.”

“Although we did not make it mandatory,” he added, “counseling and a sex offenders program can be imposed by the Department of Corrections.” Neither of these options were imposed on Labruzzi as part of his probation.

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