A former investigator for a district attorney on Long Island has dodged trial for allegedly molesting a 12-year-old girl in Vermont for more than 30 years — by claiming he’s terminally ill.
Leonard Forte, 79, an ex-investigator with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, is accused of molesting the youngster on several occasions in February 1987, and was even convicted by a jury the following year, Bennington Banner reported.
But when a judge ordered a new trial, Forte allegedly came up with a new defense strategy — claiming that he’s dying and too sick to go back to court.
The ploy appeared to work until January when prosecutors in the Green Mountain State got their hands on surveillance video that shows Forte, who now lives in Florida, bouncing around town with his wife and seemingly healthy.
“All in contradiction of what his medical experts have said, two of whom have opined that he basically can barely get through his activities of daily living and barely leaves the house or his bed,” Vermont Assistant Attorney General Linda Purdy told the newspaper.
Prosecutors now plan to produce four witnesses — including two Florida cops — to prove Forte isn’t as sick as he’s claimed for the past three decades.
Forte is still planning to make another pitch to have the court drop the three felony child sex assault charges against him on March 30.
His lawyers, meanwhile, will attempt to remove the Florida surveillance video as evidence against their client, saying the stake out “was news to the defense.”