Last updated: February 19. 2013 8:47PM - 606 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – A former youth camp volunteer at the Independent Bible Church charged with sexually molesting three boys from 1999 to 2011 was sentenced Wednesday to 16 to 32 years in state prison.

Vito Joseph Russo, 41, of Evans Street, Duryea, was sentenced by Judge Michael Vough on nine related charges he pleaded guilty to in September.

Vough deemed Russo a sexually violent predator after an evaluation by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, and ordered Russo to register his address under Megan's Law for his entire life.

Assistant District Attorney Nancy Violi prosecuted the case. Russo was represented by attorney Nicholas Barna of Honesdale.

According to court papers, state police in Honesdale, who were investigating Russo in January, learned that he might have molested two boys at his house in Duryea.

Duryea Police Chief Nicholas Lohman questioned Russo, who allegedly admitted to having sexual contact with a boy from 1999 to 2002, and another boy from 2002 to 2005, according to the criminal complaints.

One of the boys told police he met Russo when he was 9 years old, and the other boy was 8. The two boys alleged Russo picked them up in the church van and took them to youth camp or other church functions. They alleged they were molested while staying at Russo's house, the criminal complaints say.

On March 20, Russo informed police he wanted to speak about another victim he had molested.

Russo told police when the boy was 11, he would touch him inappropriately.

In April, Russo pleaded guilty in Wayne County Court to two counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age and was sentenced on Aug. 6 by Judge Raymond Hamill to nine months to four and a half years in state prison.

Both Hamill and Vough ordered Russo to have no unsupervised contact with minors, no contact with any victims and to stay away from places minors frequent, such as parks.

Vough additional gave Russo credit for 248 days already served in prison and said Russo must undergo sexual offender counseling and treatment.

Sheena Delazio, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7235.

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