Casey Croucher/Recorder staff Adam Schwabrow, right, and his attorney Michael McDermott, seated, at Schwabrow's sentencing Tuesday morning in Fulton County Court.
By CASEY CROUCHER
JOHNSTOWN -- Before being sentenced to one year in jail, Adam Schwabrow, former city police officer and Montgomery County Emergency Management director, stood in Fulton County Court Tuesday to deliver a tearful apology for the statutory rape of an underage girl.
"First of all, I'd like to apologize to the victim, I never meant her any harm," Schwabrow said. "I do take full responsibility for my actions. I was the adult in the situation and I'm extremely remorseful, and quite frankly disgusted with myself for what happened. I'm sorry to my family, friends, supporters and former co-workers."
Schwabrow pleaded guilty to third-degree rape March 4. He had sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl in May 2011 in the city of Johnstown. He was not on duty at the time, and no force was alleged in the case at any time.
After Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey got permission from the state to let Schwabrow serve his jail time in Warren County to avoid potential conflicts with inmates he helped incarcerate, Schwabrow started serving his time two months early.
On Tuesday, sans the orange jumpsuit, Schwabrow stood before Hamilton County Judge S. Peter Feldstein, who presided over the case.
Schwabrow was sentenced to one year of jail time, a nine-year court order of protection, and mandatory sex offender registration.
Schwabrow could have faced between one and one-third to four years in state prison for his charge; however, Feldstein thought a one-year sentence was appropriate.
"We don't have a bad person here, we have very much the opposite," he said.
He said Schwabrow did the honorable thing by pleading guilty and not forcing the victim to go through the trauma of a trial.
"It's clear to the court that Mr. Schwabrow has been a very good person," he said. "You don't get the outpouring of support from community leaders who talk about volunteer work on an ongoing basis and then the crisis volunteer work of the Fort Plain floods or other community calamities. This is a person who steps up and does his bit for the community and that matters."
He said Schwabrow's personal grief is far greater than anything the court could rule.
"I believe, Mr. Schwabrow, you recognize the harm you've done, not just to your own life and the life of your wife and son, but to those who place their love and trust in you, and that's far greater a deterrent than anything this court will rule," he said.
The victim did not make an appearance at Tuesday's sentencing. Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Buckley, who prosecuted the case, said the victim didn't want to make a statement and she wanted to avoid the attention to keep her identity protected.
Feldstein said the victim is moving on with her life and wants to put the incident behind her.
Buckley said the victim was satisfied with the plea and any sentence the court imposed.
Before Feldstein sentenced Schwabrow, Buckley requested he receive one year in jail and a court order of protection for the victim.
"[This crime] involves an adult, a 29-year-old adult, taking advantage of a 16-year-old female who, by law, deserves protection," Buckley said. "Something that I read in the pre-sentence investigation struck me as one of the best ways to sum this up. The probation officer wrote, 'The defendant, a seasoned police officer, is held to a higher standard,' and that is definitely true in this case, your honor. While we cannot deny all the volunteer efforts and the community efforts this defendant has clearly undertaken, that does not carry over into his choice and his actions in this matter."
She told the courtroom Schwabrow had sex with the victim on several occasions.
"This was not a temporary lapse in judgment," she said. "This was an ongoing issue that this defendant participated in. In doing that, he not only violated the victim's trust, he violated the trust a community puts into a police officer when they take that oath of office and are sworn to protect the citizens of a community in which they serve."
Schwabrow's attorney, Michael McDermott of Albany, asked that Schwabrow be sentenced to less than a year in jail before Feldstein issued the one-year sentence.
"Mr. Schwabrow enjoys the continued support of his spouse," McDermott said. "He has a young child at home. Continued incarceration is a financial burden for them. We would ask, and we know this was a negotiated sentence, and we appreciate the court's allowance of letting us make the argument of perhaps considering a sentence somewhat less than a one-year incarceration."
Feldstein said a period of state incarceration would not be necessary or appropriate.
"I certainly hope and expect that when your time is done you'll understand that you've paid your debt to society as I, the sentencing judge, determined," he said, "and you'll be able to move on with your life in a positive direction. We need you. You are a good man. You are a member of this community and you've got a tremendous amount to offer. You made a mistake and you will be punished and you can move on."