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Councilman innocent of harassing supervisor

November 16, 2012
JOHN BORGOLINI , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - After more than three hours of questioning, Johnstown Town Councilman Walter Lane was found innocent Thursday by City Court Judge John Clo of harassing the town supervisor during an August meeting.

Lane was found innocent of a second-degree harassment charge stemming from an incident at the Aug. 9 town workshop meeting.

Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean filed the complaint against Lane the following day.

She accused Lane of grabbing her arm and twisting it to get her attention at the meeting.

But Town Board members and two others in attendance that night testified that Lane had grabbed MacVean's arm without twisting or slapping it.

The first four witnesses - Councilwomen Beth Schloicka, Tamara Healy, Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Fagan and Coun-

cilman Daryl Baldwin - told Clo and attorneys Jeremiah Wood (defense) and James Riley (prosecution) that Lane was trying to get MacVean's attention because he wasn't happy with how she had treated him in front of Thomas DiMezza, town of Amsterdam supervisor, before the meeting.

They then testified that MacVean yelled at Lane, telling Lane to be quiet and that he was trying to run her meetings.

A little while after that, the first four witnesses said the hostility continued from MacVean toward Lane and Baldwin.

"'Give these papers to those two idiots at the end of the table,'" Fagan recalled MacVean telling Healy.

The witnesses said that after DiMezza left, Lane stood up from his position at the end of the table, walked around to the opposite side of MacVean and tried to get her attention. MacVean ignored him, so he grabbed her arm to get her attention, according to testimony.

"I placed my hand on her arm to talk to her, which I [often] do when talking to people," Lane said during his testimony. "She pulled her arm back and took a step back. She said, 'Don't touch me. I'll have you arrested.' I did not twist her arm, nor did she grimace in pain."

MacVean's testimony told another story than the other six witnesses. She maintained that Lane twisted her arm up.

"He slammed his hand on my arm and twisted it back," MacVean said. "[He held on to my arm] until I leaned in and said, 'Let go of my arm. I'm having you arrested.' ... I considered it to be an assault."

During his line of questioning, Wood had to stop and ask Clo to remind MacVean to stop smiling at him and his client. Clo told MacVean she had been warned.

Fagan said during his testimony that he left after the incident and went into his office down the hallway until the matter settled down.

"At one point, I remember being so frustrated and embarrassed with the situation," he said.

Clo ruled Lane innocent of the harassment charge because he believed the testimonies showed Lane did not have the intent to harass MacVean.

After the ruling, MacVean called it a joke.

Baldwin said she should do the right thing for the town and resign.

Lane was glad the matter was over.

"It's too bad that the rest of the town had to have this happen. We have other, more important things, to deal with," Lane said.



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