Three Thurston residents arrested in child sex abuse case

Local News

Three people from the Town of Thurston have been arrested after a joint investigation by State Police and Steuben County Child Protection Services. 

Natalie Burgess, 36, Roger Taft, 49, were arrested on June 5, and charged with one count each of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (a class “A” misdemeanor).

During the month of May 2018, Burgess and Taft allegedly knowingly and intentionally allowed a child less than 17 years old to remain alone in the residence of a Level III sex-offender.  

Investigators allege that the couple knew of the offender’s high likelihood for re-offending, after repeatedly agreeing to CPS safety plans forbidding unsupervised contact with him and allowed the child to remain in the home regardless.

Natalie Burgess was additionally charged with one count of Falsifying Business Records 1st Degree (a class “E” felony), after causing a false entry to be made into the official records of the New York State Police in an attempt to conceal the occurrence of a felony crime.  

In connection to the investigation, investigators later arrested Allen Lafler, age 66, also of Thurston, and charged him with one count of Sexual Abuse 1st Degree (a class “D” felony) and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (a class “A” misdemeanor).

Investigators allege that, during the month of May 2018, Lafler intentionally subjected a child less than 11 years old to sexual contact.

Burgess and Lafler were arraigned in the Town of Bath Court and remanded to the Steuben County Jail, with Burgess held on $2500 bail/ $5000 bond and Lafler held with no bail. Taft was released on and Appearance Ticket made returnable to the Town of Thurston Court on July 3, 2018.

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