Updated: 11/20/2013 9:39 PM
Created: 11/20/2013 6:47 PM WNYT.com
By: Kumi Tucker
RENSSELAER -- A Rensselaer man accused of sexually abusing two young girls is facing new charges, but the most serious, felony charges have been dropped against John Halacy because of a prosecutor's mistake.
The new misdemeanor charges are a reduction of the original charges and based on the same allegations.
The mother of one of the girls voiced her outrage after court.
"My only focus being in court today was I couldn't take my eyes off of him," she said. "He makes me sick to my stomach. I can't believe that he's out on the street with a slap on the wrist."
The woman didn't want to be identified. She is the mother of one of the girls John Halacy is accused of sexually abusing.
He pleaded not guilty to attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child in Rensselaer City Court Wednesday morning.
He was facing a number of felony charges, including rape, but a prosecutor's mistake in procedure meant that time had run out to indict him. The more serious charges were dropped and Halacy walked out of jail.
Halacy had nothing to say as he left court. Neither did his family.
Halacy is accused of having sexual contact with girls, ages 13 and 14, taking inappropriate pictures, and giving them prescription drugs. All the charges he's facing now are misdemeanors.
"I'm afraid for my daughter. She's afraid to see him. She's terrified to see him," said the girl's mother.
There are orders of protection for the alleged victims, as well as for their families.
"I don't see how anybody could have faith in our justice system. Things like this will continue to happen. It was such a minor detail that let this man walk free and he doesn't even have to register as a sex offender. That's why we have to raise awareness," said the girl's mother.
Rensselaer County District Attorney Rich McNally said prosecutors are looking to see if there are any other possible charges.