BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – Two Steuben County men involved in a high-profile, 54-count indictment criminal enterprise case from last year have pled guilty to various charges, according to the District Attorney.
Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker told 18 News that Larry Comfort, Sr. and Jonathan Hamilton have agreed to plea deals. According to Baker, Comfort Sr. pled guilty to Promoting Prostitution and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. He faces a sentence of 6 to 12 years on the felony charges.
Hamilton has pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of Conspiracy, according to Baker. He was sentenced to four months in the Steuben County Jail.
Meanwhile, the cases for Larry Comfort Jr. and the current Steuben County District 2 Legislator Steve Maio— the other two men indicted as part of the year-long investigation—were adjourned to a later date, Baker said.
The four men, along with Michael Stratton were originally indicted in December 2020 in connection to an investigation into a sex trafficking ring. Charges in the original indictment included sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal solicitation and conspiracy to commit murder, falsifying business records, forgery, enterprise corruption, sale of untaxed cigarettes, endangering the welfare of a child, and other crimes. Legislator Maio was not charged with sex trafficking in the original indictment.
However, in April 2021, the charges were dismissed against all five men on what Baker called a “technicality” during grand jury proceedings. Baker said the technicality came from police being present during the proceedings which are supposed to be done in secret. A NYSP investigator had pressed play on audio recordings that were being used as evidence during the hearing.
Then just over a month later, Maio, Hamilton, Comfort Sr. and Comfort Jr. were indicted again on corruption and prostitution charges. However, Michael Stratton was not re-indicted in connection to the case. All four were indicted for enterprise corruption “based on allegations that between December 2015 and December 2020 the four men had “knowledge of the existence of a criminal prostitution enterprise and being associated with such enterprise intentionally conducted or participated in the affairs of said enterprise by engaging in a pattern of criminal activity.”
Larry Comfort Sr. and Jonathan Hamilton were both charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in connection to the alleged sale of cocaine on various dates in 2020. They were also both charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking as a sexually motivated felony.
COmfort Sr. was also charged with soliciting another person to commit murder and promoting prostitution.
A full list of their original charges can be found here.
18 News will continue to follow any developments with this case and provide updates as they become available.