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Former legislative leader sentenced for sex crimes

ALBANY- Former Assemblyman George "Chris" Ortloff was was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison following his sentencing Aug. 12 in an Albany court for committing sex crimes.

Once one of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in the North Country, Ortloff was arrested in 2008 after arranging what he believed was a sexual encounter with two pre-teen girls.

The Lake Placid native and former state Assembly Assistant Minority Leader from 1986 to 2006 was caught in a sting at a Plattsburgh-area motel room in which he allegedly arranged a sexual encounter with two pre-teen girls Ortloff made the arrangements over the Internet with a woman whom Ortloff believed was the girls' mother, although it was actually an undercover police investigator targeting pedophiles, authorities said. Also, prosecutors have cited evidence that Ortloff had traded and possessed child pornography.

Prior to his sentencing, Ortloff claimed to be cured of his deviant behavior during his time to date behind bars, and he begged US district court Judge Thomas McAvoy for mercy. McAvoy characterized Ortloff's behavior as "unbelievable," "painful," and "scary."

In addition to a sentence of 12 and a half years, McAvoy fined Ortloff $50,000 and ordered that he be monitored and supervised the remainder of his life.

Several years ago, former governor George Pataki appointed the 20-year state Assembly veteran to a 19-person state Parole Board. Ortloff has also served as the chairman of the Clinton County Republican Committee, and at the time of his arrest, he sat on the board of trustees for the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Before his political career, he was a high-profile television anchor and author. Ortloff had worked for News Channel Five WPTZ as an anchor and served as chief of ceremonies and awards for the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid.

While behind bars, Ortloff will continue to receive his state pension - totaling more than $3,000 per month.

Ortloff's sentence was only slightly longer than the minimum mandated sentence of 12 years, authorities said, prompting some observers to question why he didn't receive the maximum of 15 years.

Law enforcement officials have said that after his arrest, Ortloff cooperated with police, providing information that led to the arrest of two other alleged pedophiles.

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