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Massapequa man sentenced for tampering with evidence

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A Massapequa man was sentenced Wednesday to probation after admitting he tampered with evidence after being charged with allegedly taking “lewd” photographs on a young girl at an ice cream shop, court records show.

Richard Stacel, 46, appeared Jan. 8 at the Nassau County Court in Mineola after pleading guilty to a charge of tampering with physical evidence.

Judge Angelo Delligatti sentenced him to serve up to five years probation, in addition to time served for the approximately 60 days he spent in the county jail after his arrest.

Prosecutors said in court that Stacel will be required to abide by some sex offender conditions, which include clinical polygraphs and therapy, as well as providing probation officials access to his electronics.

Police first launched an investigation into Stacel after an off-duty Nassau police officer allegedly saw him taking photos on his phone of an 8-year-old girl inside the Mad Topper, an ice cream shop in North Massapequa, in July 2012.

The officer approached Stacel outside the store and the two struggled before Stacel reportedly broke his phone and the memory card, police said after his arrest. During the incident, police said Stacel was reaching toward the center console of the car, where cops later found a stun gun. At the time, cops charged him with fourth-degree possession of a dangerous weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.

Months later, police upgraded charged against Stacel to include two counts of possession of sexual performance by a child, which were subsequently dismissed in court, records show. The additional upgraded charges also included tampering with physical evidence and unlawful surveillance.

Stacel pleaded guilty in November to the felony charge of tampering with physical evidence. Online court records say the weapons, child endangerment and unlawful surveillance charges are “covered by” the charge Stacel pleaded guilty to.

Stacel declined comment as he left court on Wednesday.

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