B U F F A L O N E W S
Two judges recused in Cannata case
By MARY PASCIAK
News Northtowns Bureau
Grand Island town judges have recused themselves from hearing the case of
a school principal who is charged with hitting an 11-year-old child and
violating an order of protection.
Frank J. Cannata, principal of Sidway Elementary School on Grand Island, was scheduled to appear in Town Court on Wednesday evening before Judge Randall D. White.
Cannata was charged in September 2003 with violating an order of protection that had been issued two days earlier and endangering the welfare of a child, according to Rosanne Johnson, a prosecutor with the district attorney's office. The incident allegedly occurred in Cannata's Grand Island home.
White and Sybil E. Kennedy, the other town justice, submitted papers to the district attorney's office on Tuesday asking to be recused from the case, according to Grand Island officials.
The judges both attend St. Stephen's Catholic Church, where Cannata has been the music director for 20 years.
Many other Grand Island cases that recently have been reassigned have landed in the Town of Tonawanda or the City of Tonawanda, Grand Island officials said.
Cannata's case has been adjourned several times at the request of Cannata's attorney, James Faso, according to prosecutors.
Cannata came under scrutiny when he was arrested by federal agents in December on charges that he had Ecstasy and methamphetamine in his Buffalo apartment. His next appearance in federal court is scheduled at the end of March.
He remains on paid leave from the Grand Island School District, and he has been suspended from his church job until the drug charges are resolved.