Rochester, N.Y. --- On Friday Monroe County Court Judge Victoria Argento sentenced Richard "Ricky" Kretovic, now 20 of Greece, to six months in jail.
The sentence is in accordance to a plea deal Kretovic agreed to in March and it also includes ten years of probation and registration as a sex offender in New York State.
13WHAM News was first to tell you that Kretovic suffers from Asperger’s a mild form of Autism that affects a person’s social and emotional development. It was information that was closely considered by Judge Argento and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office before sentencing was imposed Friday morning.
"God forbid he does this again, we could not look at a parent and say we knew about this and we let him go and that just can't happen," Assistant District Attorney Kyle Rossi said. "It is a sad case, it's a tough case but I believe this is the most fair and just disposition."
Kretovic pled guilty to the crime of Criminal Sexual Act.
The conditions of the plea deal were agreed upon with the consent of the victim's family according to A.D.A. Rossi.
In court Kretovic was visibily shaking and crying while he stood before the judge.
"Tell my mom I'll be okay, I'm scared," Kretovic sobbed while in court while signing an order of protection for the victim. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry...I'm sorry."
Greece Police investigated the crime after receiving information from the parents of the 12-year-old victim.
The investigation led police to determine that Kretovic had met the boy while playing Xbox Live online and that he then initiated face-to-face meetings with the boy at Kretovic’s home.
Greece Police initially determined that sexual encounters occurred in the basement of that home on multiple occasions.
"It's difficult because of the emotions, I have a developmentally disabled client," Kretovic's lawyer Stephen Leonardo said after court. "I have no doubt that his emotional maturity was at the same level the victim's was here and not withstanding that he's now going to jail. He's never been apart from his mother his health issues are well documented and I think Mr. Rossi and his comments acknowledge that. Not withstanding that there's still a belief that he needs to go to jail for six months; I don't understand it, as I said in there I think it defies logic."
Kretovic’s case drew statewide and national headlines as it was one of the first few cases that highlighted the potential dangers of online access through video gaming systems. Following Kretovic’s guilty plea in March New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pointed specifically to this case as a motivating factor in a first-of-it’s-kind agreement with manufacturers of these online gaming systems.
"Operation: Game Over in fact took on an added urgency after a recent event in Greece, New York…" A.G. Schneiderman said at a press conference in New York City last month. The agreement involved the removal of all registered sex offenders in the State of New York from the online databases of these gaming systems.
A spokeswoman for A.G. Schneiderman’s Office refused to comment when asked if the office was aware of Kretovic’s Asperger’s.
Kretovic’s diagnosis has his mother, and even a licensed social worker who has worked with him in recent months, publicly pleading for a sentence that would not include jail time.
"Rick broke the law, knowingly or unknowingly he broke the law, I'm not saying that he should not be punished for his crime," Karen Kretovic said of her son in an exclusive interview with 13WHAM News last month.
After Friday's sentencing Kretovic's mother again spoke to 13WHAM News and she recognized the judge and prosecutor for taking their time to understand and consider her son's condition.
"His sentencing could've been so much worse so I do appreciate everything the courts have done and all the people just bringing our story forward," Karen Kretovic said while also vowing to fight for a criminal justice system that better accounts for cases like her son's.
"There has to be something done to open up a lot of homes for people like this and there's a fine line between jail and mental health and there's nothing in the middle," Kretovic said.
"I think Monroe County is really at the forefront of doing that, we have treatment courts to address a number of issues but sadly I don't think they've come far enough because this man's now going to spend the next six months in jail," Leonardo said.
A.D.A. Rossi said his office closely considered every aspect of this case and that it should not be forgotten that a young victim and his family is part of this equation too.
"Quite honestly there's a large contigent of the community that probably can't believe that he was extended this type of an offer," A.D.A. Rossi said while adding that police also expressed concerns that this could happen again. "I mean this is a person who had sex with a 12-year-old and he faced up to 25 years (and) he's getting six months shock probation so I think to say that the District Attorney's Office is being unduly harsh is a completely unfair statement. We took into account everything that was provided to us and went well above and beyond what is really required of a prosecutor to ensure the result here is just."