Starzee pleads guilty to one count in sex abuse case

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A highway worker pleaded guilty to one charge of endangering the welfare of a child at Justice Court Thursday.

A Shelter Island Highway Department employee arrested in February and charged with sexual abuse in the 3rd degree and endangering the welfare of a child pleaded guilty to the single count of endangering Thursday in Shelter Island Justice Court, according to the law firm representing him.

Jeffrey Starzee, 47,  who has kept his highway job, had pleaded not guilty to both charges after his arrest and was released on bail.

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

Edward Burke Jr., head of a Sag Harbor law firm representing Mr. Starzee, said  his client would be sentenced within the next few weeks.

The New York State criminal code defines the endangering charge as a class A misdemeanor. The crime is described as when an adult “knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the  physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years   old …”

Sentencing can include up to a year in jail.

Mr. Burke said he was confident the sentence would be a year’s probation.