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CLIFTON PARK: Shen teacher pleads guilty

Kindlon said the license revocation would be discussed at sentencing and the personal identification papers were at Culver's former residence in Clifton Park, inaccessible to Culver.

Scarano set a sentencing date of Monday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m. at the county courthouse. Culver's bail was exonerated, and he was escorted out by police for immediate transfer to jail. Culver turned to look at his family members before being led out.

The entire proceeding took about 40 minutes.

Defense attorney: this is admission of guilt

"Make no mistake about it, he was guilty," said Kindlon to reporters after the courtroom proceedings. "This case was try-able, and we reasonably expected acquittals on some of the indictments, but (Culver) insisted on pleading to the entire count because he didn't want to subject the victims to being witnesses at a trial. There were some deficiencies and infirmities in the case presented by the D.A., which we could have capitalized on, but he decided to plead guilty on the charges from stem to stern."

Kindlon estimated Culver is likely to serve 85 percent of the 12 years likely to be set at his sentencing in January.

As to Culver's breakdown in the courtroom, Kindlon replied, "He's a very sensitive human being; he was a teacher who voluntarily taught disabled children in California," said Kindlon. "Parents were very eager to have him as a teacher for their children."

Kindlon declined to detail the possibility of Culver requiring mental health assistance, but suggested the matter could arise at sentencing.

"As an observer, I must say that sometimes people are overpowered by things out of their control," said Kindlon. "This isn't an appropriate time to discuss psychological treatment, but it could come up in January."

Prosecutors react

Jensen said she became concerned about Culver possibly becoming a flight risk over the Thanksgiving holiday, and came to court ready to ask his passport be rescinded, but that the change in plea from not guilty to guilty was completely unexpected.

"This is a bittersweet victory," said Jensen.

Jensen credited the eight young boys for their courage in a nightmarish set of circumstances.

"If you looked up the word 'hero,' underneath it would be the names of these eight little boys," said Jensen. "This community owes them an enormous debt because they prevented this monster from perpetrating crimes against other children. They drew together and leaned on one another. In many ways, I saw these boys be even stronger than their parents. They never wavered.""

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