DELHI _ A Stamford businessman is being held in Delaware County jail on $50,000 bail or $100,000 bond after pleading innocent to charges of sexually abusing a child.

John A. Sanzone, 41, was indicted Friday on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Sanzone appeared in Delaware County Court before Otsego County Judge Brian Burns after Delaware County Judge Carl Becker disqualified himself because he knows Sanzone, according to Michael Jacobs, Sanzone's attorney.

Jacobs said his client is accused of touching the buttocks of a child younger than 11. The charges stem from an event that allegedly took place in Harpersfield on Sept. 15, according to court records.

"All of this arises out of a very, very nasty matrimonial situation that involves his wife, his mother-in-law and his sister-in-law, all of whom were supported by his business," Jacobs said Tuesday. "They all now seek to exact punishment through the use of these false accusations.

Jacobs said Sanzone offered to take a lie-detector test to help prove his innocence, but Delaware County District Attorney Richard Northrup refused the offer.

Sanzone is a former Stamford village trustee. A spokeswoman in the Stamford Village Clerk's Office said Tuesday that Sanzone submitted a letter of resignation Feb. 20 in which he said he did not have the time to effectively do the job.

Jacobs said that he had reached an agreement with Northrup before Sanzone's court appearance that Sanzone would be released on his own recognizance, but Burns overrode Northrup's suggestion and set bail at $50,000.

Jacobs said Sanzone is a well-known local businessman who owns Catskill Mortgage in Stamford.

"Multitudes of people have come forward to say that they know John is innocent," Jacobs said.

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