City Police: Third Berry arrested for child sex abuse

Lawrence and Brittany Berry.

A third member of the city Berry family was arrested on child sex abuse charges, city police announced today. Jonathan Storm-Lee Berry, whose brother and sister-in-law were arrested in April on federal charges, is accused of abusing three young children.

City police began investigating Jonathan Storm-Lee Berry, 25, of 64 Owego St. Apt. 5, after officers were called on  Nov. 20 to a disturbance at a Pendleton Street home, said Lt. Michael Strangeway.

Officers determined Berry had pushed a 32-year-old woman down a flight of stairs, punched her television and threw it out a window, Strangeway said. The woman did not report being injured, he said.

While police were investigating, she told officers she suspected Berry was sexually abusing three children known to her, Strangeway said. Detectives investigated the tip, leading to an interview with Berry on Wednesday at the City Police Station at 25 Court St., he said. After the interview, officers arrested Berry on sex abuse and criminal sex act charges, Strangeway said.

Berry sexually abused a 2-year-old boy, a four-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy on separate occasions at a Pendleton Street residence, according to a news release. Berry was acquainted with the young children before the attacks, according to police.

Jonathan Storm-Lee Berry is the third Berry to be arrested on child sex abuse charges since April, according city police and U.S. Department of Justice news releases.

Berry’s brother, Lawrence C. Berry, 26, was arrested by city police on Sept. 13, 2018 for conspiring with his wife to create the child pornography, according to The Cortland Voice archives. Lawrence Berry’s wife, Brittany Berry, 25, was arrested Sept. 3 for sexually assaulting a boy relative under the age of five, filming the attack and sending the pornography to her husband, the archives note.

Both Lawrence Berry and Brittany Berry were charged on April 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York with conspiring to sexually exploit a child, according to the Department of Justice.

Brittany Berry pled guilty on Oct. 10 to one count of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child, according to the Justice Department. She is scheduled for sentencing at 11 a.m. Feb. 6 in Utica in federal court, according to the department.

Brittany Berry admitted when she pled guilty to conspiring with her husband, Lawrence Berry, to sexually exploit a 3-year-old,  in August and September of 2018 and sexually exploiting the child on five different occasions, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She also admitted she sent images of the sexual abuse to her husband over livestream, in a video and in a picture, according to a news release by the Attorney’s Office.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office was granted an extension until Dec. 15 to indict Lawrence Berry in federal court, according to a court clerk.

The Wednesday arrest of Jonathan Berry will not result in federal charges as Jonathan Berry did not send any images over the telephone or internet, said Strangeway today.

Jonathan Berry was charged Wednesday with eight felonies: three counts of first-degree sexual abuse for engaging in sexual contact with a person under the age of 11, three counts of first-degree sexual abuse for engaging in sexual contact with a person under the age of 13 when the actor is over the age of 21, one count of first-degree criminal sex act against a person younger than 11 and one count of first-degree criminal sex act against a person younger than 13 when the actor is over the age of 18. Berry was also charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

After the Nov. 20 dispute at Pendleton Street, city police charged Jonathan Berry with misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment, a violation. Berry was released after the dispute on the 20th, but was sent after Wednesday’s arrest to the Cortland County Jail on $25,000.00 cash bail or $50,000.00 bond. Berry is set to reappear at 9 a.m. Wednesday in City Court.