Campus Predator Sentenced

He wanted to be part of a community and now he is. Jon Sanders, the young man arrested last year for trespassing and burglary of off-campus student apartments – among allegations of sexual assault – was sentenced to one to three years in state prison on Wednesday, September 8.

“Given all the evidence, the result was in the interest of justice,” Madison County District Attorney Bill Gabor said.

Sanders was arrested last year by Hamilton Police while playing basketball in Huntington Gym. Hamilton Police Chief Gary Mlasgar had no comment on the sentencing.

For weeks, Sanders had been living as a Colgate student: eating at Frank Dining Hall, using the gym and partying with first-years in Andrews. As the Maroon-News first reported, Sanders had a number of friends on campus and frequented Delta Upsilon  fraternity house. With each new first-year class, Sanders would use alcohol and lies to embed himself into life on the hill.

“It seemed his MO [motus operandi] was to tell lies about his background,” Gabor said.

Sanders pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree in Madison County court and criminal trespass in the second degree in Hamilton court. Protective orders were placed on two Colgate students which prohibited Sanders from communicating, harassing or approaching the two individuals. Gabor said that sexual assault allegations surrounding Sanders could not be substantiated.

In January, bail was set at $5,000 and Sanders was released. At the time, Sanders’ private attorney David Russell said “this is a case of mistaken identity.” Russell did not return repeated calls for comment on Sanders’ sentencing.

According to Gabor, however, once Sanders was released he was arrested three additional times: for violating one of the protective orders, for marijuana possession in Cazenovia and for criminal mischief in Chenango Valley. The District Attorney’s office added these offenses to the original charges of burglary and trespassing.

Although one to three years in the state penitentiary may seem like a harsh sentence for the original charges of trespassing and burglary, “the totality of the circumstances led us to that disposition,” Gabor said.