To our reader: Subject matter in the following article is of graphic nature.
Robert Weis, the Hampton Bays man who repeatedly raped boys as young as 7, was sentenced to five years in state prison February 25.
Victim A, whose name is being withheld due to the nature of the crimes Weis committed against him, which began when the youth was 11, stood during Weis’s statement of regret and said to New York State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen inside his Riverside courtroom: “You are a coward, judge.”
“Be better off going to trial,” he said during his victim impact statement. “This isn’t fighting. This isn’t getting what’s right. It’s ridiculous.”
Victim B, who was 7 at the time the abuse began, said during his statement, “I really wish I knew who I would have been if my childhood wasn’t destroyed.”
Before the victims spoke, Laurie Moroff, the prosecuting attorney who handles serious sex crimes in Suffolk County, reminded the court that her office was asking for a much stiffer sentence.
“We were seeking a more extensive upstate incarceration sentence for this defendant,” she said.
Weis’s court file reveals the defendant to be a pathological pedophile, and a gun-enthusiast, boasting what one of the victims called an “armory” in his basement. That victim believes there may be dozens more victims.
Weis, born July 25, 1963, served in the Air Force Reserve Command during the first Iraq War, and continued to serve after returning home. He became a Suffolk County Department of Correction officer, and began adopting “troubled” boys, becoming a foster father to many more.
“Living with Robert Weis was awful,” said one man now in his mid-20s, who was a foster child to Weis in his teenage years. “He made me, like everyone else, change my name.”
That statement was present in a court file given to police investigating Weis’s past before his arrest last April. According to that file the boys under his care were forced to adopt his last name.
“A few months in, he started molesting me,” the man said. “He would ask me to come into his room,” and there, he said Weis would tell the then-teen to take off his pants, while he did the same, and initiated sexual contact.
“I am not the only one he has done this to,” the statement read. “I try to avoid talking about it every time it comes [up]. Robert had a ton of foster kids.”
The man who made that statement to police was one of Weis’s adopted sons. He has since died, suffering complications from heavy drug and alcohol use.
Southampton Town police were also no stranger to Weis’s house on Sunset Street. The court file contains a log of the times police responded to domestic disputes inside the home.
In his statement, Victim B detailed his history with Weis.
“My mom said I used to be a happy kid,” he said. “She didn’t ever really know what changed. But the summer I turned 7, you know, I met a new friend.”
Victim B’s father brought Weis, a friend of his, home one evening.
“I thought he was the coolest person in the world,” he said. “My [siblings] would pick on me. He got them to stop. He took me and my family to the ocean. I’d never been to the ocean. Then, he started coming over more, and we got closer. He was like a mentor, like a friend.”
The boy said the pair started taking trips together. He said Weis brought him to the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, and when he was 7, they went to Cape Cod because he had to bring a truck to another base.
“I thought it was the coolest thing. I’m sitting in a military truck. I’m a little kid. This is awesome,” he said. “And then we get to the hotel and everything’s normal. We got dinner. And he went to go take a shower.”
That’s when he said Weis initiated sexual contact.
“I didn’t think anything was wrong,” he said. “It’s the ’90s, ‘stranger danger’ isn’t really a thing yet. You know, your parents don’t really talk to you about that yet because no one thinks it’s going to happen to their kid. It really shouldn’t happen to anyone’s kid, but it happened to me. The trip — when everything else seemed normal — I didn’t know that wasn’t normal. I never said anything to my parents.”
Victim B began spending weekends with Weis at his house.
“There was a guest room for me to sleep in, but I was afraid to sleep there, so I started sleeping on the floor in his
room,” he said. Soon, he told the court, he was sleeping in Weis’s bed, where Weis initiated anal sex. “That went on for just about 10 years, every weekend, every holiday, vacation.”
At the same time, Weis was brainwashing the boy.
“He made me think my family hated me. That I was the problem child. [That] my dad wasn’t a good dad, he couldn’t take care of me,” the victim said. “The only person who could take care of me was Rob. And I believed him.”
He said the situation morphed into a kind of relationship.
“We held hands. We kissed. We slept in bed together and had sex,” he said. “I was a child,” he added, before speaking directly to Weis: “You were my father’s friend.”
Weis allegedly used Victim B to lure in more young boys to prey upon.
“I feel like I destroyed a lot of my friends’ lives just by having them come over and play,” Victim B told the court.
“Around 13, I realized what was going on was wrong. And throughout my entire life with him, you know, drinking was allowed, so I got used to substances. If I wasn’t drunk, I was high. I just didn’t really want to think about what was going on.”
Victim B fell into a well of drug and alcohol abuse as a result.
“I take medication now, probably for the rest of my life. My therapist says, ‘childhood trauma,’” he said. “I wonder what that is. I’m guessing that would be the almost 10 years of being raped by this man.”
“So many times I would have nightmares from what happened as a kid,” he continued. “So many times I would try to kill myself. I honestly don’t know why I’m standing here, ‘cause I really shouldn’t be.”
Victim B has come to terms with what he experienced, and is hoping to one day start a family of his own.
“I can move forward. I’m happy. I’m in a good relationship right now,” he said. “A lot of lives have been ruined. I’m just one of them. I know more are going to come. I think they’re all just too afraid right now.”
Victim A addressed the court, and Weis, before Victim B, by first stating his name and saying: “I’m not hiding.”
When he was 11, his family moved into a house in the neighborhood of Sunset Street. He described it as the “worst mistake of my life, not that I could help it.” He said he began playing with some of the boys who lived with Weis, and was soon invited into the house. The first time he went inside, he sat in a room with the other boys and played with Hot Wheels cars. Victim A’s mother, worried when her son didn’t come home that day, called the police. Southampton Town detectives came knocking on Weis’s door.
“You [Weis] brought them into that room and said, ‘Oh, they are right here, just kids playing.’ Well, they took us home, and nothing had happened, so there was nothing to tell,” Victim A said. “Just kids playing at a friend’s house without telling their parents.”
He said he liked many of the boys who lived with Weis, so he continued visiting the house. Weis repeatedly asked him to take a shower, but victim A said he didn’t see the point, since he lived nearby.
Then one day, Weis was going to take Victim A and some of the other boys to Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton, and Victim A agreed to take a shower.
“There was a knock at the door. It was you, Rob. You began to tell me, in front of all these kids, that my mother said my father was a bad father, and that he didn’t know how to take care of his son. You said he couldn’t check to see if I hit puberty yet, so you had to do it. And that my mother had asked you to,” Victim A told the court. “You acted like it was perfectly normal and continued to check. I was frozen. That ended like that. I showered, crying the entire time — the entire time — wondering if that was normal, if it was OK. Everybody was right in the living room. It must be normal. It’s not. Not at all.”
Weis befriended Victim A’s mother, and began paying the boy to do various chores around the property.
“All these things were so you could rape me,” Victim A said.
He also described his contact with Weis’s weapons.
“Every time we went in that pickup truck you had a machine gun in the bed of your truck,” he said. “Went upstate with that machine gun, and we got pulled over, me and another person, by that state trooper, after you just loaded that whole machine gun, the one in the back in the bed, one in the cab of the truck, the pistol on you. I wanted to tell that state trooper so bad . . . All I could think, you were going to kill everybody, and that state trooper had no idea. I kept my mouth shut.”
Victim A said that Weis would take the boys to shooting ranges, and teach them to shoot, painting a picture of some oncoming Armageddon.
He described being raped on the various trips he went on with Weis and the other boys.
“It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t willing,” he said. “It ruined my childhood, Rob.”
Victim A called Weis “pure evil,” but said he has rebuilt his life, and now has a family of his own.
“You were supposed to protect people. You were a corrections officer,” Victim A said. “You were in the military. You went overseas. You should have never come back.”
Both victims expressed a common desire, or hope that at least more victim will step forward so he can face additional prosecution.
“They’re out there. Tons of them. And it’s all because of you,” Victim A said to Weis. “You may have only gotten this little sentence for us, but they are going to keep coming out, and you are going to be away forever.”
Justice Cohen addressed the two victims after they spoke.
“This certainly is a case that reaches the top of horror,” he said. “A period of time over 10 years. A period of repeated attacks on children. A period of literally grooming, guilt. But, in the end, both of you have this humanity. The humanity is you were glad that you met friends. You were glad that, in spite of the horrors that this man subjected you to, you were able to have had those friends. No amount of what I can say will make you think this is right.”
The crimes he was sentenced for include two counts of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, and two counts of sodomy in the first degree, all classified as violent B felonies. He also was sentenced on four more felonies, three being illegal weapons possession charges and a charge of criminal possession of stolen property.
All four sex charges drew a five-year sentence, to be served concurrently. The possession of stolen property charge drew a sentence of two to six years, again, to be served concurrently, with the balance of the charges drawing lesser time, all concurrent. The two to six year sentence on the possession charge means that Weis could serve an extra year, though, given the sentences on the most serious charges, that appears unlikely.
Weis is being held in an undisclosed downstate facility. He will be assigned to an upstate penitentiary and is eligible for parole as early as July 8, 2023.