Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright has said, for the first time, that former Town of Ulster Police Chief Matthew Taggard was suspected of engaging in “criminal conduct” while working with a youth program affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America a decade ago.So, it was Taggard himself who was engaging in sex with underage boys in the Explorers program (this program is now coed, I'm told, but was exclusively for boys during Taggard's tenure).
Those allegations prompted an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office which culminated Monday, Oct. 22 when the decorated former lawman pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of official misconduct inSaugerties Village Court.
So, why haven't the DA and the FBI throw the book at this sex offender? Statutes of limitation, apparently:
According to Carnright, the offenses alleged in the 2002 investigation fell outside the statute of limitations in New York State (seven years for most felonies). Thus, the renewed inquiry was focused on turning up evidence of more recent crimes. According to Carnright, the investigation was under way in June when he received news that prompted him to end the undercover portion of the probe and immediately bring the misdemeanor charge against Taggard.If I'm reading this correctly the only charges on which the county and state could nail Taggard is the one about not reporting a sex crime, when in fact Taggard was the one committing these crimes. They busted him for not turning himself in, essentially. Better than nothing, I suppose.
But what about the community that now has to live with this guy? Well, he's not out of the woods, not by a long shot:
Carnright, meanwhile, declined to detail any allegations against Taggard or whether the alleged sex crimes that the former chief supposedly knew of and did not report had ever been investigated or prosecuted. Carnright did say that his office had cooperated with the FBI during the course of the investigation. Federal law significantly extends, and in some cases eliminates entirely, the statute of limitations on a number of crimes against children. According to Carnright, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York were aware of the investigation. Albany-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Coombe acknowledged that the office was aware of the case but declined to say whether any action had been taken.So, federal charges are still possible here, as the statute of limitations may not have expired on the federal level.
“We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation,” said Coombe.
But the question remains whether Taggard acted alone. It appears that this may be the case, but I wouldn't bet on anything at this point -- except that Taggard must be sweating some serious bullet right about now. If the feds can bring a case, he's probably going to spend a very long time in federal prison, most likely in isolation given that he's a former cop and (would be) a convicted pedophile.