By Ayala Ben-Yehuda
A Massachusetts man arrested in Alley Pond Park last summer for luring a 15-year-old Bayside boy he met on the Internet into several sexual encounters was sentenced Monday to one to three years in prison.
Chun Ho, 29, of Brighton, Mass., pleaded guilty in February to charges of sodomy and endangering the welfare of a child.
Ho, dressed in a bright purple and green sweatshirt, did not make a statement at his sentencing in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens before Justice James P. Griffin.
He merely answered “yes, Your Honor” when the judge asked if he still admitted his guilt.
The boy's mother and stepfather, who have not revealed their names to protect the identity of the victim, attended the sentencing. The boy's mother read a prepared statement in which she said her son's school had notified her of what had happened.
“I never expected that my son was sexually abused by this sick man,” she said. “How can someone do something so awful to a child, how can someone betray a child's trust and respect for any adult?”
“Just the thought of someone doing something like this to any child makes me sick,” she continued.
At the time of Ho's arrest June 12 in Alley Pond Park, he was carrying a list of Internet screen names used by children and their ages, according to the district attorney's criminal complaint.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Ho said he met the boy in an online chat room last April and communicated with him by phone and computer several times before driving to Queens for five sexual encounters with him in a motel room and empty parking lots around the borough.
“You have done significant harm,” Griffin told Ho after he sentenced him. “I hope you are able to get some kind of therapy while you are incarcerated.”
Brown said Ho had purchased gifts for the boy, including a cell phone and clothing, and had taken him to Jones Beach.
It was those gifts, said the boy's parents, that bribed their son into entering the relationship.
“This man wanted to take my son to Boston,” the boy's mother said in court. “He wouldn't go. But what if he did? I probably would never have seen my son again.”
The boy, now 16, was not present at the trial, his stepfather said, because he did not want to see Ho.
“The defendant crossed the line, preyed upon a child and broke the law,” Brown said in a news release issued after the sentencing. “The prison sentence imposed by the court holds him accountable for his conduct and punishes him for victimizing a child.”
The boy's parents disagreed, saying after the sentencing that Ho should have received a longer sentence.
“One to three years, he could always do that again,” said the boy's stepfather, adding that Ho had not even apologized to them in court.
“There wasn't even the courtesy to say, 'I'm sorry,'” he said.
As for how their son was doing, the couple said he was back in school, and they were monitoring the Internet use of all their children.
The couple hoped that what happened to them would be a wake-up call to families who may not know what their children are doing online.
“You always read about it, but you never think it will hit home,” said the stepfather. “It hit home.”
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 146.