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2-state child abuse probe reaches Union County

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David T. Foster III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
Bill Bates-Congdon

A child sexual abuse investigation involving a Charlotte-area man now stretches from New York to Union County, with six victims identified and others possible.

Bill Bates-Congdon of Waxhaw was indicted last week in Oswego County, N.Y., on almost two dozen charges of sexual abuse against four children. He remains jailed there.

On Friday, Union County authorities said they have added two new victims to the list. Working with their New York counterparts, Union County sheriff’s deputies earlier this month seized what they describe as homemade child pornography videos from Bates-Congdon’s home.

Two Union County children who appear on the videos have been identified and their families notified, said Lt. David Linto of the sheriff’s department investigations division.

Union authorities will ask the FBI and other federal groups to uncover the names of other children who show up on the videos, Linto said. Other computers and digital equipment taken from Bates-Congdon’s home remain to be checked.

“We’ll be meeting with the district attorney in the near future,” Linto said.

Bates-Congdon, 49, moved from Oswego County to Waxhaw about a decade ago. He was arrested last month by Oswego authorities and accused of abusing two children in the town of Scriba, N.Y.

His indictment expanded the list of potential New York victims to four. Bates-Congdon now faces 22 felony counts of sexual abuse involving two boys and two girls. Prosecutors say one of his victims was as young as 7.

Allison O’Neill, an Oswego County assistant district attorney who is handling the case, said more than half of the charges are Class B felonies. In New York, each carries a potential prison term of five to 25 years.

The abuse allegedly occurred between 1997 and 2008, mostly in Scriba, a town of about 7,200, east of Rochester on the banks of Lake Ontario.

The charges include:

• Five counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree.

• Four counts of sexual abuse in the first degree.

• Six counts of sodomy in the first degree.

• One count of use of a child in a sexual performance.

• Two counts of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree.

The indictment says the abuse started when one of the boys was 7 and one of the girls was 8, and continued for years.

In another example cited in the indictment, Bates-Congdon started sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy in 2004 and continued through 2008 – years after he had moved to Union County.

Bill Bates-Congdon is the spouse of Steav Bates-Congdon, a prominent church music director who lost his job at a Catholic parish in Charlotte in 2012 after the pair was married in upstate New York.

Linto said Steav Bates-Congdon has been cooperating fully with investigators and is not believed to have been involved in any wrongdoing.

Gordon: 704-358-5095
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