ANGOLA — The grandmother of three boys allegedly molested by an Angola man was the first to take the stand Wednesday afternoon in Steuben Superior Court.
A 12-person jury of Steuben County residents was seated Wednesday morning and heard seven felony charges pending against Tylarr James Tagliaferri, 24, of Angola.
He is charged with three Level 1 felony counts of child molesting, one for each child, and three Level 3 felony child molesting counts. Another Level 1 felony child molesting charge refers to the use of deadly force because Tagliaferri allegedly threatened his victims with a machete.
A Level 1 felony carries up to 40 years in prison and a Level 3, up to 16 years.
Tagliaferri allegedly forced the boys — between the ages of 10 and 6 at the time — to perform a sex act on him on multiple occasions in his home and garage, say court documents. Charges refer to alleged activity between April and August of 2015.
In his opening arguments, Prosecutor Jeremy Musser said the molesting occurred when Tagliaferri babysat the boys. The boys’ grandmother, Heather Su Sheets, said “generally every Thursday night” the boys would stay with Tagliaferri and her daughter, Ella, who is now married to Tagliaferri. They have a 5-year-old son.
Tagliaferri has a job in Ohio and lives in Angola. Besides his current legal concerns, said his court-appointed attorney Eugene Bosworth, “he has a normal life.”
Arrested in mid-July 2016, a $50,000 surety bond was posted for Tagliaferri’s release from Steuben County Jail on March 20, 2018.
Sheets, the only witness to testify on Wednesday, said she gave a house in the 600 block of North Martha Street to her daughter. She and Tagliaferri moved in during the spring of 2015. Sheets said an arrangement began at that time in which she would watch their toddler on Wednesdays and they would watch the boys on Thursdays, to give each family a respite from child care each week.
“Tylarr had learned in therapy that was good for the family so we continued it,” said Sheets. He was convicted of felony battery of one of the alleged molesting victims in November 2014.
The babysitting agreement continued until July 7, 2016. That week, Musser said, one of the boys told a family friend what was happening to him at the hands of Tagliaferri. Sheets initiated charges after the molesting came to light, said Musser.
The victims are expected to testify Thursday morning.