An ex-Suffolk County corrections officer has been sentenced to five years in prison after admitting to sexually abusing children over a nine-year span, but one of the victims is calling the sentence too lenient.
Robert Weis was sentenced Tuesday in Suffolk County court after pleading guilty in December to felony counts of sexual conduct against a child, criminal sex act, criminal possession of a firearm, and criminal possession of stolen property. Weis faced up to 25 years in prison, prosecutors recommended 10 years, but Judge Mark Cohen gave him five.
“The sentence itself is absolutely disgusting,” one of the survivors, Michael Neary, told the Press after the sentencing. “He stole our childhoods … I can never forget, never forgive.”
Prosecutors said the investigation into the 55-year-old Hampton Bays man began after a man reported to the Southampton Town Police Department that Weis had sexually abused the victim from from the ages of seven to 16. When authorities executed a search warrant at his home, they said they seized three illegal handguns, 32 rifles, and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition. Police also said investigators recovered stolen property belonging to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, including bulletproof vests and EMT equipment.
Weis, who is the adoptive parent of five males and has been a foster parent for approximately 15 years, had been employed as a Suffolk correction officer since 1995. Following his arrest by local authorities last year, he was terminated by the sheriff’s office, where had previously been placed on modified duty after he was arrested in South Carolina in 2016 for allegedly sexually abusing a minor.
Neary, who was one of two survivors in the Suffolk case, told the Press that he wanted to go public with his story in the hopes that other victims will come forward. He believes there are more than a dozen others out there, including some in other states and overseas who were victimized while Weis served in the military.
“I’m not hiding anymore,” Neary said. “I really just want one more to come forward.”
He said he personally witnessed more cases and knows of others who came forward but believes charges related to some weren’t pursued because the victims didn’t want to proceed.
Neary, who’s now a 32-year-old married father of four working as a butcher in New Hampshire, said Weis began abusing him at age 11 and continued to do so until he was 18.
“He would bring us to his work at the Westhampton Air Force base and rape us their on his training weeks their each summer,” Neary recalled.
Neary said later, when he was 22 and was arrested for failing to perform community service he was sentenced to after being convicted of theft, Weis sexually assaulted him while incarcerated for 30 days at Suffolk County jail in 2010.
Neary said the only thing that the only thing that got him through being victimized as a child was knowing that he was sparing another boy of being raped that day.
“I knew if it wasn’t happening to me, it would be one of the other boys,” he said. “That’s what got me trough the hundreds of times he raped me. Was if its happening to me, it’s one less time for the other boys.”