Plea bargain in works for officer
JOHNSTOWN – A plea bargain is being worked out in the case of a city police officer accused of raping a 16-year-old girl, and the deal may result in his resignation, attorneys said.
Lawyers associated with the case involving suspended city Patrolman Adam Schwabrow wouldn’t say whether the plea will involve jail time.
The 32-year-old Schwabrow, accused in September of felony statutory rape, was due to be in City Court Thursday. A court official said Acting City Court Judge Lisa Lorman canceled that proceeding and moved it to 9 a.m. next Thursday.
Defense attorney Michael McDermott of Albany didn’t return a phone call Thursday or this morning seeking comment.
Special prosecutor Jennifer Buckley of the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday said, “The [defense] attorney and I are discussing plea negotiations.”
She said it is “possible” the matter might be transferred to Fulton County Court. Plea negotiations are expecting to end soon.
Schwabrow was charged Sept. 19 by his own police department with felony third-degree rape, commonly known as statutory rape.
He is accused of having sexual contact with the girl sometime over the past year and a half.
Schwabrow is the department’s former Johnstown Police Benevolent Association president and K-9 officer.
If convicted, Schwabrow would face the possibility of 1 1/3 to four years in state prison. Schwabrow is free on $5,000 cash bail.
Attorney Mary Roach, a city labor counsel from the Albany law firm of Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux, said Thursday she couldn’t comment on Schwabrow’s suspension from the police force.
“The city is hopeful that part of the plea arrangement will be a resignation,” Roach said.
City police Chief Mark Gifford said Thursday that Schwabrow currently is suspended with pay.
Schwabrow had also served as director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office, but the county legislature last week appointed Jeff Smith as his replacement.
Gifford previously said Schwabrow was arrested after an investigation revealed evidence he had sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl.
Saratoga District Attorney James A. Murphy III said last fall the victim “was known to the defendant” and that Schwabrow didn’t attack the victim.
He also said his office was investigating whether Schwabrow pulled his police firearm while fellow officers were trying to arrest him in September at City Hall.
Buckley this week declined to comment on the alleged gun incident. She said her office is working with Johnstown police.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said after the arrest the alleged rape took place in the city of Johnstown. She said there has been no allegation or evidence of forced sexual contact between Schwabrow and the victim.
She said forced sexual contact typically falls under the category of first-degree rape, which was not alleged in this case.
She said people younger than 17 in New York state cannot legally consent to sexual contact with an adult.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.