Michael Mesko, 52, entered his plea to a charge of second-degree rape during a hearing before Niagara County Court Judge John Ottaviano. He faces a maximum potential prison term of seven years when he returns for sentencing before Ottaviano on Aug. 29.
Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman confirmed that Mesko’s state sentence, by law, will run concurrent to his federal prison term.
U.S. District Court Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. handed down a 30-year sentence to Mesko during a hearing in district court in Buffalo on Friday. Mesko had previously pleaded guilty to a single count of enticement of a minor, in a deal with prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York.
The charge carried a minimum possible prison term of 10 years and a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Mesko has also previously pleaded guilty to Pennsylvania state charges in connection with the kidnapping of his teenage victim. Court records in Pennsylvania do not indicate if Mesko was ever sentenced for his guilty pleas there.
In Niagara County, Mesko was charged by a grand jury indictment with two counts of second-degree rape, three counts of second-degree criminal sex act, second-degree kidnapping and second-degree criminal contempt. Federal authorities charged him in a criminal complaint with enticement of a minor and production of child sexual abuse material.
In his federal plea, Mesko admitted that he knowingly attempted “to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce an individual under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity.” Mesko also admitted that he knew that his victim “was mentally disabled.”
During a preliminary hearing in Venango County (Pennsylvania) Court, on Feb. 24, 2021, Mesko pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance and criminal mischief after prosecutors there withdrew seven other charges, including counts of endangering welfare of children, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer and driving at an unsafe speed.
Mesko was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police after they encountered him on Feb. 16, 2021 at a rest stop just off Interstate 80 near Harrisville. He had been the subject of a multi-state Amber Alert, issued the previous night by North Tonawanda police.
North Tonawanda Police detectives said at the time of the Amber Alert that they were working with agents from the Buffalo Field Office of the FBI to investigate the abduction of a 17-year-old girl. Agents assigned to the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force said they first began looking into Mesko’s activities after NTPD detectives arrested him Feb. 4, 2021, on claims that he had been engaging in repeated sexual acts with the teenage kidnapping victim.
Mesko was charged with rape at that time, but was released from custody after Niagara County prosecutors decided not to hold a preliminary hearing and instead chose to take their case to a grand jury. An order of protection, barring Mesko from contact with his victim, was issued at that time.