By Joe Olenick
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
A Niagara County Sheriff’s deputy has received youthful offender status in a rape case stemming from an incident that allegedly took place 13 years ago.
Kevin J. Rohde, 30, has taken a plea without admission and will be sentenced April 25 in Lockport City Court. He had been facing first-degree rape following an incident that took place March 1, 1999, at a Remick Parkway residence, when Rohde was 18 years old.
Rohde is suspended with pay. His attorney, George V.C. Muscato, said his client wants to return to the sheriff’s department as soon as possible.
“We’re anticipating once the matter is finalized, hopefully he’ll be able to go back to work,” Muscato said.
Rohde could be facing a conditional discharge at sentencing, meaning no jail or probation, provided he meets the conditions set by the court. Conditions could vary, but also could be as simple as leading a law abiding life.
Youthful offender status was given to Rohde on Friday, when the case was originally scheduled to be presented to a grand jury. A non-admission plea is when the defendant agrees to a plea but does not admit the act, still maintaining their innocence.
Rohde was charged in September after a joint investigation by Lockport Police Department, the Niagara County District Attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office.
When arraigned in September, Rohde appeared in city court surrounded by supporters. Many of them were law enforcement officers and fellow deputies.
Rohde has been a sheriff’s deputy for seven years, receiving an award from the sheriff’s office in 2006.
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.
Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.