BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin J. Rohde has resigned, a little less than a year after pleading guilty without admission to charges stemming from a sexual incident involving a 13-year-old girl in March 1999.
Rohde handed in his resignation Thursday, said Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour.
The resignation ends the hearing process in which the county was seeking permission to fire Rohde. The process was close to a conclusion, Voutour said.
”We were towards the end,” he said. “All of the witnesses had been called.”
In Feburary, Rohde, 32, was granted a one-year conditional discharge for endangering the welfare of a child and was given youthful offender status, as he was 18-years-old at the time. The charge was a misdemeanor.
In April, City Court Judge William J. Watson sentenced Rohde to a conditional discharge, a $200 fine and to be screened by a certified mental health counselor.
Rohde had been originally charged with rape in 2011.
A conditional discharge keeps a person out of jail provided they meet the conditions set by the court, such as staying away from the victim and obeying the law. Rohde would see a year behind bars if he were to violate the conditional discharge.
The plea, an “Alford plea” or non-admission plea, is where the defendant agrees to a deal, but one that does not involve an admission from the defendant. By agreeing to the Alford plea, the defendant admits there is sufficient evidence to convict but does not admit breaking the law.
Rohde has been a sheriff’s deputy for eight years, receiving an award from the sheriff’s office in 2006. He never returned to duty after his September 2011 arrest and according to See Through New York, Rohde was paid $64,479 last year.
At the April sentencing, the father of the victim said the entire affair has been difficult for his daughter and family. And while he was happy with the sentence, he said at that time the family did not want Rhode to return to the sheriff’s department.