Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 15, 2011

Niagara County sheriff's deputy accused of rape

Incident allegedly occurred 12 years ago

Staff Reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

— A Niagara County Sheriff’s deputy faces a rape charge stemming from an incident 12 years ago in the City of Lockport.

Deputy Kevin J. Rohde, 30, a city resident, was charged with one count of first-degree rape late Tuesday at police headquarters. He was arraigned in front of City Court Judge William Watson, who ordered him held on $2,500 bail pending a 9 a.m. Monday return court appearance.

Rohde, a seven-year employee of the sheriff’s department, is suspended with pay, according to Undersheriff Samuel Muscarella.

Rohde was charged after a joint investigation by Lockcport Police Department, the Niagara County District Attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office, Muscarella said in a written statement to the media Wednesday morning. Of Rohde’s accuser, the statement said Rohde is “known to the victim’s family” and that the sheriff’s department isn’t releasing any other information about the case, “in an effort to safeguard the identity and privacy of the victim.”

LPD Chief Larry Eggert did not return several calls from the US&J about the case, either. A detective at the station Wednesday morning directed all questions to him and/or Muscarella.

According to the LPD arrest report, Rohde is charged with rape in connection with an offense that took place March 1, 1999, at a Remick Parkway residence.

Rohde’s father, Herbert Rohde, is a retired city police officer. Rohde’s wife, Julie, is a current LPD officer.

The report said the arrest was made by LPD Juvenile Det. Travis Mapes, with assistance from Capt. Brian Wentland.

A City Hall source said that when Rohde was being brought to police headquarters Tuesday night, officers were ordered out of the building and were told to stay out until they were called back.

Conviction on a charge of first-degree rape carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison, the sheriff’s department said.

In New York state, there is no statute of limitations on prosecuting first-degree rape and other violent sex crimes. The state Legislature wiped out a previous five-year limit in 2006.

State penal law says a person is guilty of “first-degree rape” when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another by forcible compulsion, or with someone who can’t consent because of physical helplessness, or with someone who’s younger than 11 years old, or with someone who’s younger than 13 years old when the “actor” is 18 or older.