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A charge against a veteran Niagara Falls police officer accused of attacking a woman at a Darien Lake concert last summer has been upgraded from harassment to assault.

Kelly Alcorn, 47, of Grand Island, was arraigned Wednesday in Darien Town Court on a misdemeanor third-degree assault count and has been suspended from her job because of the more serious charge, authorities said.

She pleaded not guilty in court to the higher charge and was released on her own recognizance. She is scheduled to return to court Feb. 26.

Her attorney, Norman Effman, told The Buffalo News that the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office had offered a plea deal, which Alcorn rejected.

Although Alcorn is now charged with misdemeanor assault, he said that prosecutors told him they intend to take the case to a grand jury and pursue a felony charge.

If convicted of a felony, Alcorn automatically would lose her job.

“Her job is in jeopardy even as a misdemeanor,” Effman said.

“The next step is up to the prosecutor.”

Should the case go to a grand jury, her lawyer said, Alcorn would be contacted and given the opportunity to testify, in private, before the grand jury.

“A grand jury can indict on what the district attorney is requesting, which may be a felony, or it can continue as a misdemeanor, or after hearing the evidence, it can decide that there is insufficient evidence to indict,” Effman said.

Alcorn is accused of striking a woman during a sold-out country music concert Aug. 25 at Darien Lake.

Prosecutors upgraded the charge based on the allegations of Elizabeth Dake, of Farmington, who told authorities – and wrote to The News – that Alcorn attacked her in an unprovoked, brutal and merciless way, which resulted in a concussion and bruises all over her body.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com