By Frank Parlato;
It will be a long time, maybe never, before Alfonso ‘Big Al’ Cutaia rides again.
Formerly of North Tonawanda, Lockport, Pendleton, Wheatfield, Wilson, and, recently Niagara County jail, Big Al, 41, was sentenced to 25 years to life for sexually abusing a child.
There was a spate of pictures posted on Facebook now deleted – of Cutaia, in his leather vest, back patch, pins and his “Thunder” moniker patch, sometimes with children seated behind him on his bike at big bikers’ events. He rode his bike as if he owned the road and it would never end. Everybody knew Big Al.
She was seven years old and it was three years ongoing before she told her dad and he told deputies who made an arrest.
Between arraignment and trial, Big Al, unable to make his $100,000 bail, sat in jail, aloof from prisoners, avoiding guards. Nervous, trembling. Wondering if he’d ever get out. In prison, murderers get respect but child molesters never.
After his arrest, publicity came, and a young man, 19, known well to Big Al, came forward to tell how it had happened to him when he was nine and rode with Big Al.
A year went by and the trial came. In the Niagara County courtroom of Judge Mathew Murphy, Big Al stood accused by a girl and a teen of committing acts to both, separately, repeatedly, grotesquely, for runs of three years, five years apart.
Niagara County Assistant District Attorneys Robert A. Zucco and Cheryl L. Nichols prosecuted. Nichols told the jury Cutaia abused the girl in North Tonawanda and continued when he moved to Wilson.
“He made her ‘pinky promise’”, said Nichols, wiggling her finger, “not to tell anyone.”
Cutaia abused the young man, they said, in Lockport in 2006. Then when Big Al moved to Pendleton, he didn’t stop, not until 2009, when the 12-year-old told his grandmother. It stopped, so what would it accomplish to tell police except the ruination of lives – the boy’s too?
Assistant Public Defender Christopher A. Privateer was assigned to represent Big Al.
Of the girl, “The child was prodded to give answers,” Privateer said, suggesting prosecutors tailored false words to comport with guilt of the accused man. “There have been changes in her testimony over the course of time,” the lawyer said.
While, if it were true he had abused the boy and they never told on Big Al, then perhaps the little girl would not have seen the monster. But why didn’t they tell? Was it all a lie?
For two-weeks, six men and six women sat on the jury and listened. After six hours of deliberations, they found Alphonso Cutaia ‘not guilty’ of abusing the boy – but ‘guilty’ of abusing the girl.
Judge Murphy sentenced him to 25 years to life.
Judge Murphy did all he could by sequestering him in a concrete house until he is bent or dead.