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Stephen J. Lee, Forum Communications, Published October 05 2012

Tenn. woman gets 10 years for sex with ND teenager

GRAND FORKS - Cynthia Kusy dropped her head into her hands Thursday as the judge sentenced her to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence, for sexually assaulting a then 15-year-old Grand Forks boy in April 2011.

The Knoxville, Tenn., woman’s attempt to blame the victim, who was described in court as a vulnerable teen with a low IQ and emotional problems, and his mother for not taking better care of him was cited by the judge in the sentencing decision.

In addition to the two counts of sexual assault of a minor, District Judge Debbie Kleven also sentenced Kusy to five years for luring a minor over the Internet, but suspended that sentence. Kusy will get five years of supervised probation after she gets out of prison.

The judge asked Kusy, who said she has been married for 24 years and has a 14-year-old son: “Would you want someone to do that to your son?”

“No, of course not,” Kusy said. “I can’t undo what I’ve done. I will never do it again, ever.”

A jury convicted her in June after minutes of deliberation.

Kusy met the boy in late 2010 while playing an online computer game and, eventually, engaged him in explicit sexual talk. In April 2011, she flew to Grand Forks, rented a motel room and met the boy there, gave him beer and had sex with him over a three-day weekend.

A week later, she drove to Grand Forks, picked him up and took him back to Knoxville without telling his mother.


During her trial, Kusy denied having sex with the boy, despite his own halting testimony.

On Thursday, under Kleven’s questioning, Kusy took it further: “There is no evidence he was even in the building,” Kusy said of the boy being at the motel.

Kleven told her “there was plenty of evidence.”

Prosecutor Carmell Mattison asked Kleven to give Kusy the maximum sentence, saying she had refused to give psychiatrists much information about her life and sexual habits.

Other sex offenders recently sentenced for luring minors have been sentenced to 10 years in prison with four of those years suspended, Mattison told Kleven, and those cases involved fictional minors in law enforcement stings.

“In this case, we have an actual minor child which makes it more egregious,” Mattison said. “This case also involves the defendant having sexual contact with a minor child on at least two separate occasions.”

Mattison said Kusy wasn’t truthful, either, about her financial condition in qualifying for a court-appointed attorney. It came out that she had a substantial inheritance and other assets she failed to mention and was able to post a $50,000 bond this summer, Mattison said.

Yearning for home

Kusy’s attorney, David Ogren, said he’s defended many sex offenders, but only knows of a few female sex offenders because there are not many. North Dakota doesn’t have adequate treatment for female sex offenders he told Kleven in asking that Kusy be able to get treatment in Tennessee.

Kusy had pleaded with Kleven during the sentencing hearing to allow her to get sex offender treatment in Knoxville, with five years probation and no time behind bars.

“I just really want to go home,” she said.

Once Kusy heard the 10-year sentence pronounced, it appeared she began weeping silently into her hands at the defense desk as the judge explained the terms of her sentence and probation.

Kusy, who has been free on bond since July and had traveled from Knoxville for her sentencing, was taken into custody after the hearing to be taken to state prison in Bismarck.

Kleven told her she has the right to file an appeal within 30 days.