LOCKPORT – Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin J. Rohde, who was suspended from the force after being charged with having sex with a 13-year-old girl years before he was hired, resigned last week.
The resignation put an end to a hearing process that the county hoped would end with permission from a hearing officer to fire Rohde, whose union hired an attorney to defend him.
“I’ll confirm that he no longer works for us,” Sheriff James R. Voutour said Monday.
Rohde handed in his resignation Thursday, according to the father of the woman who came forward in 2011 to accuse Rohde of having sex with her in 1999.
Voutour said the hearing “was fairly close to being done.” Robert Ravin of Syracuse was the hearing officer.
Rohde, 32, was 18 when the incident occurred.
“The arbitration hearing took place, and he’s no longer employed, which is what our objective was,” the woman’s father said Monday. “This process has been horrible for my family.”
Rohde pleaded guilty Feb. 10 in Lockport City Court to endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor that did not require him to register as a sex offender.
Rohde entered a so-called Alford plea, which involved no admission of actual guilt.
On April 25, Judge William J. Watson granted Rohde youthful-offender status, as he was required to do because the crime was a first misdemeanor committed by a person 18 years old or less. That was true even though when Rohde pleaded guilty, he was 31 and the victim was 26.
Watson gave Rohde a one-year conditional discharge and a $200 fine.
Rohde had been on the force for seven years when he was arrested. He had won several commendations for his patrol work.
Voutour said Rohde was suspended without pay for 30 days after his arrest in September 2011, but after that the county was required to resume paying his full salary, even though Rohde never was permitted to return to duty. He earned $61,000 in 2011.
The victim’s father said the termination hearing began in October. The closed-door session included the woman’s first testimony under oath about what happened to her.
Deputy Timothy E. Callaghan, president of the Niagara County Police Benevolent Association, said the union would not comment on the case.