Island highway worker charged in sex assault

A Shelter Island Highway Department worker pleaded not guilty to sex abuse charges Friday, according to court records.

Jeffrey Starzee, 47, was charged with third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child and released on $1,250 bail, according to his attorney, Brian DeSesa of Sag Harbor.

According to police reports, the victim is a “juvenile female less than 17 years of age.”

“I do look forward to our day in court,” Mr. DeSesa said in a telephone interview Saturday. He declined to discuss details of the case, but said he is confident Mr. Starzee will be acquitted of the charges.

Mr. Starzee could not be reached at his home Saturday. When reached by telephone, his wife, Helene, deferred comment to Mr. DeSesa.

“We have no comment on anything,” she said.

Shelter Island Police had been investigating the incident that led to the arrest for several weeks. Mr. Starzee surrendered at Police Headquarters Friday afternoon, police said.

Though Friday’s arraignment was handled by Judge Helen Rosenblum, the case will be heard by Justice Mary-Faith Westervelt.

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REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Shelter Island Justice Hall

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Shelter Island Justice Hall