Weekly Feature

2018-09-13 / Front Page

Rogowski pleads guilty to misdemeanor charge

Interim editor

Cheektowaga Town Council Member James Rogowski has pleaded guilty in an incident in which he was accused of following his wife through traffic in an aggressive manner.

According to Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn, the Sept. 5 plea was to one count of attempted criminal contempt in the second degree, a misdemeanor, for Rogowski’s knowing violation of a court-ordered no-contact order of protection.

Rogowski strongly asserts, however, that his case is not being presented in a fair or accurate way.

“What the DA sent out in the press release is on the verge of being a flat-out lie,” said Rogowski.

According to Flynn’s release, on Feb. 23, Rogowski followed his wife in his vehicle in an aggressive manner by changing lanes to maintain pursuit of her vehicle and causing her to be fearful of physical injury.

According to Rogowski, on the day in question, he and his wife had pulled up to the same traffic light. The council member said that when the light turned green, he went straight and his wife made a turn.

Rogowski did acknowledge, however, that the two cars were less than 100 feet away from one another, which is a violation of the order of protection.

“I didn’t get out of my car. I didn’t try to run her off the road,” he said.

As of Wednesday morning, Rogowski had not resigned his position on the Cheektowaga Town Board, although his colleagues on the board and some other politicians are calling for him to do so.

“By pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge, Mr. Rogowski has demonstrated his unfitness to serve public office. No public official is above the law,” said Assemblywoman Monica Wallace in a statement. “Mr. Rogowski took an oath to uphold the laws of this state. By his own admission, he has failed to do that and should therefore resign immediately.”

Rogowski sees the situation differently, however.

“This doesn’t violate my oath of office, this doesn’t violate my education,” said Rogowski. “This is all very political, coming from people who don’t support me.”

Rogowski’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 13, and while a news release from the District Attorney’s Office said he faces a maximum of 90 days in jail and/or one year of probation, he also disputes that, saying his sentencing has been capped at one year probation.

Kait Monro, public information officer for the District Attorney’s Office, said that while such a cap may have been put on in this particular case, if Rogowski were to violate the order of protection, he could still be eligible for jail time.

For more information on this story, see “Town Board moves to push out Rogowski” on page three.

email: bjackson@beenews.com

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