Erie County DA Bets on Teen’s Word Against Pigeon: Lack of DNA Evidence and Witnesses Complicates Case

District Attorney John Flynn

Almost two years ago – in December 2021, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced rape charges against Steve Pigeon.

Next month, he goes on trial.

Pigeon, 62, a former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman, is accused of first-degree rape, predatory sexual assault against a child, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The charges stem from an alleged incident involving Pigeon’s then-nine-year-old niece in December 2016.

Steve Pigeon

“This is not just child molestation. This is rape,” stated Flynn, emphasizing the severity of the alleged crime.

The trial, slated for December 2023, seven years after the alleged incident, has garnered significant attention due to Pigeon’s former prominence as a political kingmaker.

Twisted Family Ties: Pigeon’s Efforts to Bond with Troubled Niece Ends in Grave Accusations

The case relies heavily on the testimony of Pigeon’s teenage niece, as there is no DNA evidence or corroborating witnesses.

Recent developments in the case have shed light on the complex family dynamics surrounding the alleged incident.

Pigeon’s sister, who faced financial challenges, encouraged her brother to spend time with her troubled but bright daughter. The girl had experienced neglect from her absent father and a mother grappling with her own emotional challenges.

On the day of the alleged incident, just before Christmas in 2016, Pigeon agreed to take his niece out to dinner, initially intending to be a group gathering. However, when two friends declined to join, Pigeon found himself alone with his niece for the first time. They had dinner at a restaurant, and Pigeon claims he dropped her off afterward. However, his niece alleges he raped her during the drive home.

The girl did not immediately disclose the alleged assault to her mother or anyone else. Years passed without further one-on-one interactions between Pigeon and his niece. It was only when someone questioned the girl, then 14 years old, about unrelated inappropriate behavior that she disclosed the alleged assault.

Her mother consulted with a lawyer, who was Flynn’s former law partner, and the allegations were brought to Flynn’s attention.

Flynn’s Faith in Victim Over Evidence: Bypasses State Police; Ignores Conventional Investigative Measures

From the beginning, Flynn decided to keep the investigation within his office, and did not involve the New York State Police Sex Crimes Division.

Flynn was aware of the challenges he faced in prosecuting the case.

One of the key challenges was the lack of physical or DNA evidence, as well as the absence of corroborating witnesses to support the allegations that took place in 2016.

Furthermore, the target of the investigation, Pigeon, had no prior history of sexual offenses. It was also noted that Pigeon had never been alone with the girl, except for the dinner in question, initiated by the girl’s mother.

Flynn’s decision to proceed with the case despite these challenges was influenced by his belief in the credibility of the victim’s allegations. He chose to prioritize the victim’s account, even in the absence of typical patterns seen in cases of child sexual abuse. The investigation revealed that Pigeon had not attempted to be alone with his niece after the alleged incident, which contradicted the usual behavior of a pedophile.

Family’s Doubts and Flynn’s Unyielding Faith: A Clash of Beliefs in Pigeon Case

However, some family members expressed doubts about the credibility of the victim, citing her history of lying. They pointed out details in her story that seemed implausible from a physical and biological standpoint.

These doubts might have led another prosecutor to conduct a deeper investigation into the plausibility of the story.

Despite these concerns, Flynn remained unwavering in his belief in the victim’s account. His faith in her story guided his decisions throughout the investigation.

As a result, he chose not to interview Pigeon, dispensing with standard investigative techniques.

Typically in child sex abuse cases where there is no DNA evidence or witnesses, it is common for investigators to interview the suspect to gather information and assess credibility.

Flynn Stands Firm on Teenager’s Testimony: “I’m Standing with the Child”

Erie County DA John Flynn at press conference announcing Pigeon’s arrest .

At a press conference announcing Pigeon’s arrest two years ago, Flynn acknowledged his case relied solely on the word of the teenager making the allegations.

WGRZ TV reporter Dave McKinley asked Flynn, “Do you have anything more than the word and allegation of a child?”

Flynn replied, “I’m not going to talk about any other evidence, but I have her word, though.”

The journalist asked, “I’m not asking what you have, but you must (have more evidence) to bring a charge like this, no?”

Flynn replied, “What all these cases come down to [is] a child’s going to say something. I presume he’s going to say something: ‘it didn’t happen.’ All right. At the end of the day, it’s a child’s word versus his word, and I believe the child. I’m standing with the child, and I’m going to get the child justice.”

Flynn’s Singular Focus: Trusting One Voice

Despite significant public attention the case has garnered over the past two years, no other individuals have come forward with similar accusations against Pigeon. This sets this case apart from others involving high-profile figures like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, where multiple victims have stepped forward.

While the lack of physical evidence or additional victims may present challenges for the prosecution, Flynn’s unwavering faith in the child’s word remains the foundation of the case.

He fought for the right to have her voice solely heard to get the child justice.

Flynn’s Role Questioned: Historical Animosity and Procedural Controversies Mire Pigeon’s Case

Pigeon attorney James Nobles.

Pigeon’s attorney, James Nobles, filed a motion for the disqualification of Flynn, which a judge denied.

Nobles stated Flynn holds “actual prejudice and animosity” towards Pigeon due to their long history of political clashes. For instance, in 2008, Pigeon blocked Flynn’s first candidacy for DA, and the prosecutor had to wait eight years to get another chance to run and win the office.

Nobles also claimed Flynn’s office created an additional conflict of interest when it chose to use its own investigators to pursue the victim’s claims before notifying police agencies, thereby making several members of the DA’s office witnesses.

The direct investigation, however, allowed Flynn to block Pigeon from telling his story before indicting him.

If Flynn had put the state police in charge of the investigation, NY criminal procedure law [§ 190.50(1) and (5)] would have required Flynn to allow Pigeon to appear before the Grand Jury, where Pigeon might have persuasively told his side of a story, and avoided the indictment in a case that boiled down to his word against his accuser.




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Frank Parlato

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1 month ago

Has Flynn tried a rape case before? Of a child?

1 month ago

The girls going to be mortified. This was a horrible thing Flynn did to her.
Procedures are in place to prevent public tragedies.
Flynn ignored them – rushed to judgement and now, if Steve’s attorney does his job, the girl will be fully discredited.
What a horrible price to pay for the vengeance of Flynn

1 month ago

Could Flynn come to CT and get Justice for the Ambrose kids? And so many others? The Herzog children? We’ve got kids sexually abused and it’s confined by the courts.

Leave pigeon alone and come take down the true pedos.

1 month ago

A girl has a memory from years ago.
So Steve should be in prison for alleged rape.
The Ambrose kids have been determined to be sexually abused with a forensic interview, and Ambrose walks away. Hmm…

1 month ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Hahahahaha you are in dreamland. The forensic interviews determined no abuse but evidence of coaching by Karen.

1 month ago

This case will go nowhere. It’ll be over quickly and they’ll try to bury it. Flynn has no case. It’ll be quiet and buried.

Pal Boingo
Pal Boingo
1 month ago

This beautiful intelligent girl, from the safety of her 125-lb mother’s loving arms, is speaking her truth loud and strong. She is so brave and mature, and I would be proud to call her my daughter. Girl, whoever you are, we love you. Never stop fighting! If things don’t go your way, maybe run away to Guatamala to live on the streets. You can trust my advice. I just got out of prison and am a dangerous mentally ill drug addict, but I know what’s best for kids. Why is Steve even afraid of you? I hear you only weigh 110 lbs.
Bless you and your beautiful protective 125lb petite mother.

1 month ago

It’s pretty clear Pigeon is innocent.

1 month ago

Has Flynn’s office paid for acting classes for the child over the past two years?

What about for the lunatic mother?

1 month ago

I love that he called for the disqualification of Flynn but the judges denial hints at a crooked case. That’s my concern.

A jury is the only way but judges can still greatly impact the outcome of the case. Does anyone know the history of the assigned judge?

1 month ago

Steve Pigeon has spent a lifetime in high powered politics. He has not one mark of sexual deviance or sexual indulgence anywhere.

This is a trumped up charge with the expectation Steve wouldn’t survive until trial.

Flynn fucked up royally. Cannot wait to watch Flynn fall on his face. He’s done nothing but harm to this family.

1 month ago

Political agenda at hand. Troubled girl sacrificed.

Flynn's follies
Flynn's follies
1 month ago

What’s the point of having procedures if no one has to follow them?

As soon as there is evidence standard procedure was not followed, the case should be tossed. Instead, we reinforce it by allowing Flynn’s baseless, public allegations of Pigeon’s guilt and consequences to be forecast to the nation.

Why wasn’t Flynn fired for that alone? Where’s the accountability?

Flynn is going to fall on his face and will be legally destroyed. No doubt about it.

Flynn is the criminal.
Flynn is the criminal.
1 month ago

Steve Pigeon is innocent.
Flynn failed to calculate the possibility that Pigeon would make bail. He counted on Steve being locked up and unable to put on a defense.

I hope it is televised to show the word what an ignoramus Flynn is, but there’s little chance of that because of minor status.

This is a career ender for Flynn.

Flynn should lose his job over this.
Flynn should lose his job over this.
1 month ago

Flynn is a moron, and undermines his understanding of sexual abuse with his line, “This is not just child molestation. This is rape,” as if sexual molestation isn’t equally damaging to a young child.

Flynn used his power to exploit this young girl. The trial will be swift and will exonerate Pigeon. Flynn’s abuse of power is an atrocity– he’s irreparably harmed Steve Pigeon, destroyed this girl’s life, and tore apart an extended family.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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