Benedetto Endorsed By Eight Northern Oswego County Republican Committees

RICHLAND – Thomas Benedetto, candidate for Oswego County Family Court Judge, has been endorsed by eight northern Oswego County Republican committees.

These include: Albion, Steve Cronk, chair; Amboy, Legislator David Holst, chair; Orwell, Ron Smith, chair; Parish, Paul Gage, chair; Redfield, Mike Yerdon, chair; Richland, Mary Yerdon, chair; Sandy Creek, Legislator Margaret Kastler, chair; and Williamstown, Carol Stoker, chair.

“The Williamstown committee has endorsed Thom because of his experience in the Family Court system,” said Stoker. “He suggested ideas to improve current processes that would help families and agencies work together for better outcomes.”

Kastler said: “Thom has extensive experience working with people and I know he will make good changes to help our kids. We need to ensure that all people in the community and at the schools know that they have the power to speak up against child abuse. Every person interacting with children — neighbors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians—may speak up, not just our teachers or principals. They all need to feel welcome to speak up for these kids who cannot speak up for themselves. “

“By a majority vote of the committee present, the Town of Richland Republican Committee endorsed Thomas Benedetto for Oswego County Family Court Judge,” said Mary Yerdon. “Mr. Benedetto is a family man who understands family values and all family issues. He grew up in a country family setting of which he was one of seven siblings. Thomas and Patty are parents to five children and four grandchildren. Thomas has been a referee for many years and has 25 years experience overall in family court. As Referee, He has been responsible to hear and determine child custody cases. During this time, he has heard over ten thousand cases that have never been overturned on appeal. In the earlier years Thom worked for two different Family Court Judges as their law clerk. Mr. Benedetto has a great deal of legal and practical experience, and the right temperament to serve as a Family Court Judge. His commitment, his character, and his dedication to family makes him the best candidate for the office of Family Court Judge.”

Holst said: “Thom is a town of Amboy resident, and he has been involved with and worked very hard for his community and our Oswego County youth. His ability to work as a partner with our schools, the department of social services and other agencies is a tremendous asset to our county. He proved that as coordinator of the Oswego County Mock Trial Program where he maintained a positive working relationship with every district superintendent. This popular program involved high school students from every school district in our county who had a passionate interest in the law and aspirations to become attorneys or judges. In addition to his many years of judicial experience, Thom is known to be a very honest and fair individual, and a great family man (5 children). We believe the town of Amboy, Oswego County, and most importantly, the youth of our county, will be better served if we all work together to elect him as our next Family Court Judge.”

“I am both overwhelmed and humbled by this strong show of support from each of these towns,” Benedetto said. “The safety and well-being of our children will be a critical issue in this race. Electing someone with the right mix of legal and practical experience is key. My background as a former prosecutor, family lawyer and judicial official gives me unique insight about protecting our children’s best interests. Our Family Court judge must be able to carefully weigh the needs of every child to assure their emotional health and physical safety. Children cannot be left to fend for themselves in unhealthy or unsafe homes. It will not be tolerated.”

Benedetto has worked in Family Court for more than 25 years, including judicial experience for the past 15 years.

He became responsible for hearing cases as a Senior Family Court Attorney from 2002 to 2009 under the presiding judge. In 2009, he was appointed Family Court Referee and became responsible for hearing and determining cases without any oversight.

He has heard well more than 10,000 dockets to date. These cases involved domestic violence, custody/visitation disputes, and issues of alleged child neglect/abuse.

During this time, fewer than six of Benedetto’s cases were appealed to the Appellate Court in Rochester, where it was determined that each of his decisions were correct and proper.

In addition, more than 90 percent of the cases before him reached a settlement without delay or the need for costly litigation.

“The best outcome is derived when parents accept their responsibility to work together for their child’s well-being. I attribute my success to the great mentoring I’ve had working directly under two different Family Court judges as their law clerk,” Benedetto said, “But I’ve also gained a wealth of knowledge and experience from observing other judges and learning from my interactions with people from all walks of life, over the past 30 years. I am so thankful for all the people who’ve helped me get where I am today, especially my family.”

Benedetto said he’s been “blessed with helping children my whole life.”

A native of Amboy and the second youngest of seven children, Benedetto attended Syracuse University and is a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law. He began his legal career as an intern in a law office in 1985 and worked his way through law school until becoming an attorney, then joining the court system in 1992, holding various positions over the past 25 years, including Assistant District Attorney.

He and his wife, Patty, are parents to five children, ages 13 to 33, and have four grandchildren.

“As Family Court Judge, I want the same things for the children I see in court that I want for my own children and grandchildren,” Benedetto said, “To be happy, healthy, and safe with opportunities to thrive.”

NewsHeather McCoy
Benedetto Announces Candidacy For Family Court Judge

AMBOY – Thomas Benedetto, with 25 years of experience in Family Court and a lifelong Republican, has announced his candidacy for Oswego County Family Court Judge.

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“The safety and well-being of our children will be a critical issue in this race,” Benedetto said. “Electing someone with the right mix of legal and practical experience is key. My background as a former prosecutor, family lawyer and judicial official gives me unique insight about protecting our children’s best interests. Our Family Court judge must be able to carefully weigh the needs of every child to assure their emotional health and physical safety. Children cannot be left to fend for themselves in unhealthy or unsafe homes. It will not be tolerated.”

Benedetto has worked in Family Court for more than 25 years, including judicial experience for the past 15 years.

He became responsible for hearing cases as a Senior Family Court Attorney from 2002 to 2009 under the presiding judge.

In 2009, he was appointed Family Court Referee and became responsible for hearing and determining cases without any oversight.

He has heard well more than 10,000 dockets to-date.

These cases involved domestic violence, custody/visitation disputes, and issues of alleged child neglect/abuse.

During this time, fewer than six of Benedetto’s cases were appealed to the Appellate Court in Rochester, where it was determined that each of his decisions were correct and proper.

In addition, more than 90 percent of the cases before him reached a settlement without delay or the need for costly litigation.

“The best outcome is derived when parents accept their responsibility to work together for their child’s well-being,” he said. “I attribute my success to the great mentoring I’ve had working directly under two different Family Court judges as their law clerk. But I’ve also gained a wealth of knowledge and experience from observing other judges and learning from my interactions with people from all walks of life, over the past 30 years. I am so thankful for all the people who’ve helped me get where I am today, especially my family.”

Benedetto said he’s been “blessed with helping children my whole life.”

A native of Amboy and the second youngest of seven children, Benedetto attended Syracuse University and is a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law.

He began his legal career as an intern in a law office in 1985 and worked his way through law school until becoming an attorney, then joining the court system in 1992, holding various positions over the past 25 years, including Assistant District Attorney.

He and his wife, Patty, are parents to five children, ages 13 to 33, and now have three grandchildren with another grandchild due this winter.

“Of all that I’ve done in the law and community over the past 33 years, I count ‘father of five’ as my most experience for this critical office,” Benedetto said. “Raising a family is tough, but at the same time, there is nothing more enlightening, joyous or demanding. I know what it means to be accountable and accessible. I believe in fiscal responsibility, but I also believe that we have to do our best to make right and compassionate decisions for every child whose case comes before Family Court.”

Benedetto and his wife are both active volunteers on the Oswego County Search and Rescue Team.

They are both K9 handlers and trainers for Search and Rescue dogs, Philip, a yellow lab, and Leela, a black lab.

He also earned his HAM radio license recently, (call sign KD2NPL), which ties into his search and rescue work.

Benedetto and his family are outdoor enthusiasts.

He’s also a lifelong sportsman and hunter, and is a member of the NRA and Albion Fish and Game Club.

The Benedettos are also members of the Oswego County ATV Club, and are and his family are involved in the Square Valley Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club as landowners, and active riders.

Benedetto served for many years on the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown school board, coached Little League, helped with Parish Relay for Life, served on the Amboy Planning Board and helped organize the APW Educational Foundation.

As past coordinator of the Oswego County Mock Trial Program, Benedetto annually served 75-100 high school students from across Oswego County.

“As Family Court Judge, I want the same things for the children I see in court that I want for my own children and grandchildren,” Benedetto said, “To be happy, healthy, and safe with opportunities to thrive.”

For more information on Benedetto and his credentials, visit “Thom Benedetto For Family Judge” on Facebook, or his professional profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thombenedetto.

NewsHeather McCoy
Court Referee Benedetto Encourages Parents to Talk to Children About Online Safety

We often hear stories about senior citizens falling prey to online scams, but children are often targeted and may be more susceptible, said Thom Benedetto, an Oswego County Family Court Referee since 2009.

“Children are often incredibly trusting and naïve, making them prime targets for crooks,” Benedetto said. “Scammers are heartless and they don’t care about the pain they cause.

“If you’re allowing your children to go online, it’s critical that you discuss online scams for their protection and yours.”

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According to Symantec Corp, who produce Norton online security systems: “The first step in protecting your children from online scams is to educate yourself on the types of scams…For example, free one-month trials of some ‘amazing’ product. The fine print of these scams includes terms stating that after the trial period, you’ll be paying for the product once a month…forever.” So be sure to do your homework.

Scambusters.org said: “The most common scam aimed at kids is usually an online sale ad for a piece of mouthwatering gadgetry—like and iPhone—at a knock-down price. Victims have been known to sell other stuff and/or use a chunk of their savings to pay for something that doesn’t exist. Often, they’re so embarrassed they don’t tell their folks.

“Another frequent con that targets children is the talent kid scam. This takes many forms—an invitation to take a screen test or join a child model agency or a celebrity soccer school.

“Sometimes victims are simply notified that they’ve won some sort of award or prize in recognition of their skills. Other times, they are offered help supposedly to gain scholarships. In all cases, the kids, or more usually their parents, learn they must pay a big upfront fee.” Then the opportunity disappears.
Children are also sometimes victims of identity theft when they are hooked by phishing and ID theft scams where they give away personal information about themselves or their family online. “If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true,” Benedetto said.

Here are the 10 common internet scams your child might fall for according to uknowkids.com:

1. Knockoffs. Kids love clothes, especially teenagers. They want to be trendy and have all the latest designer styles when they know they can't afford it. So, scammers create ads for all these "discount" online stores that supposedly sell designer goods. However, designers do not license these companies to sell their goods, and all the products are fake. Let your children know not to be tempted by these online stores, because they are likely not what they advertise.

2. "Free" music downloads and ringtones are a tease. The purpose is to lure you kid in, for a limited time, and then inform them that they have to pay for further use of the service. The programs collect personal or bank information and charge your card with all these fees and can possibly steal your identity. Stick to music programs like ITunes, or just by CDs to play it safe.

3. Free Stuff. Most "free" stuff offered on the internet is a ploy to collect information. Tell your kids to avoid the freebies, they are usually a trap.

4. Kids also love contests because they love to play and win. They don't realize the prizes aren't real, and nobody ever wins. These contests are used to collect information and steal identities. Avoid online contests unless it's for a known entity like a magazine.

5. Lottery. Teenagers may be attracted to lottery scams. Anything that requires you to send money to get money is an obvious scam. Most of these fake lotteries always require some type of wire transfer or bank information.  Warn your kids to stay far away from "free" money on the internet.

6. Fake credit cards. College bound kids love the idea of credit cards, and scammers know this. So, stick to applying for cards from known banks, and don't be afraid to call and check up on an offer

7. Games. Downloading games opens your browser up to viruses. On top of that, some of the games ask for way too much information for the kids to play. Then after the child is hooked they want you to pay to continue to play. Just don't do it.

8. Fake scholarships. College bound kids are always looking for money for school. Scammers target them with fake scholarships, and when they get their information, they steal their identity. Have your kids apply for scholarships through government websites, and financial aid office referrals. Parents, you can always call the supposed donor and check on the authenticity of the award.

9. Fake jobs. In this economy, everybody needs a job. Scammers target young people with these dream jobs and when the kids apply, they steal their identities. The other side of the scam is that the job requires some fake training that the applicant has to pay for.  Real jobs rarely make applicants pay a fee.

10. Fake memberships. For small children, becoming a member of a club is exciting. But it can turn into a nightmare once mom gets the bill. Don't allow your kids to join any type of online club or organization for any reason. Only you should be signing them up for online activities.

“Talk to your kids and help them to be aware of who is reaching out to them online,” Benedetto said. “They should never share personal details on the internet, and never agree to meet someone without parental permission.

“We can’t be looking over their shoulder every minute, nor would we want to. We have to prepare our children for what’s out there, while they’re online gaming, socializing, and researching for school. But we can monitor their activity and keep a dialogue going so we’re always in the loop.

“If parents suspect their child has been a victim of an online scam, they should contact their local law enforcement authority.”

For other information on how you can help keep kids safe online, Benedetto said, visit The U.S. Dept. of Education site: https://www2.ed.gov/free/features/cybersecurity.html.

“There’s helpful information there for protecting your child’s identity as well as tips to prevent cyberbullying. Another helpful site is connectsafely.org with a parents’ guide to cybersecurity: https://www2.ed.gov/free/features/cybersecurity.html “In addition, many local school district websites have kid friendly internet resource links."

NewsHeather McCoy
Benedetto Advances in K-9 Search and Rescue Training

Thom Benedetto and his faithful Labrador retriever K9 “Philip” have been actively training toward certification as a Search and Rescue team.

They have attended numerous local, state and regional training programs, including a four-day national training conference in North Carolina, and most recently a two-day Human Remains Detection seminar in Pennsylvania under the direction of Matt Zarrella and Scott Carlsten, master trainers for the International Police Work Dog Association (IPWDA) in Search and Rescue.

Thom Benedetto (above), and his faithful Labrador retriever K9 “Philip” have been actively training toward certification as a Search and Rescue team

Thom Benedetto (above), and his faithful Labrador retriever K9 “Philip” have been actively training toward certification as a Search and Rescue team

IPWDA training and accreditation programs are designed to prepare dogs and their handlers for the stringent conditions they will encounter.  Benedetto successfully worked Philip (“Philly”) through various training scenarios including land area, building, crime scene and vehicle searches.  The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people. Dedicated volunteer handlers and well-trained dogs like Benedetto and Philly are required to conduct effective, and successful search efforts.

Benedetto, a member of IPWDA since 2016, and Philly are working toward operational status as a K9 team in human remains detection, crime scene and water recovery.  Upon earning operational status, Benedetto and Philly will volunteer their services to the police and other law enforcement with locating missing persons.  Operational status would also be recognized anywhere in the United States and internationally.  

K9 teams are a vital resource for emergency preparedness.  On average, 90,000 people are missing in the USA at any given time, according to Todd Matthews from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, a national database for missing people.  “As volunteers, we have traveled thousands of miles throughout the state and northeast for K9 training and participated in many searches throughout New York State,” Benedetto said.  

Benedetto and K9 Philip have strong support in the Oswego County community, including North Country Kennel Club, Vella’s Market and Home Center, Babcock Highway Supply, Mexico Veterinary Hospital, members of the Mad River Club, Sandy Pond Sportsman’s Association, Certified Canine Services, Shivery Creek Canine, the Family of Jeremy Spencer/Jeremy Spencer Memorial Fund and numerous individuals.  “We appreciate the strong community support for K9 Philip.  We are able to do this important work thanks to the generosity and support of all of these area  businesses and individuals, ” he said.

Benedetto, who serves as a Lieutenant with the Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team, has been a volunteer member since 2013.  He is certified as a Searcher 1 Crew Boss which allows him to lead a team of wilderness searchers and other volunteers in Oswego County and throughout the state.  Searcher 1 certification is an advanced status issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and involves hundreds of hours of initial training and continuing education and ongoing field training.

Benedetto's wife, Patty, a handler in training with K9 Leela, also attended the seminar.  They are residents of Amboy and are both volunteers with the Oswego County Pioneers Search and Rescue team.

NewsHeather McCoy