Although clearly agitated and sobbing on Nov. 26, Culver answered each count read by Judge Scarano with an admission of guilt.
"No one can force you to plead guilty, you must do so freely and voluntarily," Judge Scarano advised Culver. "You must be aware of your fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination. These are felony charges, and if you enter a guilty plea and are convicted of another felony within 10 years, you will go to state prison."
Now, in order to officially ask Judge Scarano to consider the withdrawal of his plea, Culver must file a motion showing newly discovered evidence of coercion.
Kindlon will not be representing Culver in this new motion, and Murphy said Culver could potentially seek a public defender for this latest action.
"We have not received the application, nor heard he has new representation, but we're waiting to see what he does next," said Murphy. "I can't stress enough that we'll defend this sentence to the end. He's a convicted felon; nothing will change that."
Murphy said his office originally pushed for a 16-year jail term, but agreed to 12 if Culver pleaded guilty to all 49 counts. When Culver did this, Murphy assured members of the public his office was not accepting pleas to any reduced charges.
"This is not a plea bargain," said Murphy. "This was as if the jury came back with a guilty verdict on every single count."
The charges also included nine counts of second-degree sexual misconduct against a child, and eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child "likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child."
Culver, who was on paid leave from the Shenendehowa school district until his guilty pleas, was terminated as a staff member and ordered by Judge Scarano to surrender his teaching certificate to the New York State Department of Education. Following his release from jail, he will face nine years of post-release supervision, and will also be required to register as a state Sex Offender. The existing orders of protection barring Culver from any contact with the victims will now carry permanent status. At one point considered a flight risk, Culver was also required to hand over his passport and birth certificate.
"We want this over and done with, and Culver removed from the streets where he could cause harm to another child," said Murphy.""