Steven M. Cooper, one of area’s best known theatrical and advertising personalities, was spared a jail term Friday but ordered to continue the sex offender and alcoholism treatment he has been undergoing in recent months.
Williamsville Village Justice Jeffrey F. Voelkl sternly rebuked Cooper, 56, for sexually traumatizing the 11-year-old daughter of a longtime friend.
The judge put him on probation for three years and clearly indicated he did not believe the improper behavior resulted from long-standing alcoholism.
Cooper, who was arrested Jan. 7 on a sexual abuse charge, pleaded guilty May 16 to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge. Reading a prepared statement, Cooper expressed deep regrets and told the judge he was prepared to do anything necessary “to make amends.” (How about going to prison where you belong Asshole?)
After his arrest, Cooper, who has appeared in dozens of local theatrical productions in recent years, was fired as managing director of Buffalo’s Kavinoky Theatre.
In addition to imposing the maximum non-jail sentence, the judge ordered Cooper to continue alcoholism and sex offender counseling, as his attorneys had arranged following his arrest.
The judge also ordered Cooper to submit a DNA sample that will be available to law enforcement agencies.
Voelkl issued an order of protection that bars Cooper from trying to contact the girl or any members of her family for five years. He warned Cooper that he faces a likely one-year jail term if he violates that order.
Voelkl also barred Cooper from consuming alcohol in any non-dining situation, ordered him to submit to mental health counseling if directed by officials of the county Probation Department and barred him from possessing any type of pornographic material or using Internet chat rooms.
The judge also prohibited Cooper from frequenting adult book stores or any facilities featuring adult entertainment and to remain arrest-free for three years. He also fined him $215. (215 whole dollars? Wow, talk about trying to bankrupt the poor old pedo.)
Cooper’s lawyers, Sunhil Bakshi and Justin White, told the judge that Cooper took immediate steps to deal with his alcohol problems by entering and successfully completing inpatient alcoholism treatment in the Syracuse area.
That prompted the judge to stress that Cooper’s guilty plea involved admitting to “knowingly and intelligently” committing criminal misconduct.
Sex crimes prosecutor Marni Bogart told the judge the mother of the victim remains concerned that even though her daughter continues to receive counseling, the girl may “never again” fully trust any man.
Bakshi stressed that Cooper “did not plead guilty to any sexual offenses.”
The lawyers said Cooper continues doing television and radio voice-over commercials locally and nationally.