Editor’s note: This story includes details about an attempted rape incident that some people may find upsetting. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual or domestic assault, contact the police or The Tompkins County Advocacy Center here.
ITHACA, N.Y. — A Tompkins County Sheriff’s deputy being charged with rape and sex assault gave investigators a statement denying the claims against him, but also appeared “visibly nervous” at times and changed or added details upon retelling his version of events, according to court records.
Matthew Pinney and Deputy Scott Walters are both charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault after an investigation into a reported incident that happened Feb. 2, 2013.
According to the accusations against the men, they committed the crimes while at Walters’ home on the 400 block of Buck Road in Lansing. There, they allegedly raped and sexually assaulted a woman who was incapable of consenting “by reason of being physically helpless.”
The men have denied the claims against them.
In newly released court documents, Walters detailed the narrative of what happened that night to New York State Police investigators as follows:
Walters, Pinney and a woman ran into each other at the Crossroads Bar & Grille in Lansing, where they drank alcohol and hung out.
Walters said he didn’t know either of them well, but they returned to his house where they drank vodka and other mixed alcoholic drinks by his kitchen isle. Pinney, who took the woman to the home, allegedly began kissing the woman and the two of them went to Walters’ bedroom down a hallway.
“Scott Walters stated that (redacted) was coherent, willing and everything was consensual,” investigators reported.
He told them that he shortly afterward was invited to join them in the bedroom and did so, engaging in sexual activity with the woman while Pinney had sex with her but not having sex with her himself.
He said that Pinney then left the home for “hours” and Walters began calling him to pick the woman up again, which he did. Walters later amended that statement to say that Pinney left the woman at his home for about 20 minutes and added that the woman took may have vomited in his bathroom and took a shower. He also said he may have carried the woman to the bedroom, but he couldn’t remember for sure.
Walters said the three of them never talked about the incident afterward.
Investigators told Walters that the woman had a sex assault evidence collection kit done after the incident because she believed she’d been drugged.
Investigators said, “Scott Walters again became visibly nervous and stated, ‘Well that’s good I didn’t have sex with her, but my DNA may be found there…’”
Walters was also questioned about a surveillance system he has or had which records his entrance, living room and kitchen.
“Walters became visibly nervous when questioned if surveillance from the evening in question would still be in his DVR system as is may be helpful to support his claim that (redacted) was a willing participant in the events that unfolded . Walters advised that he no longer has the surveillance as he got rid of the DVR system and could not recall what he did with it,” court documents state.
Both me are scheduled to appear in court again on Jan.5.
Walters is being represented by James Baker and Pinney is being represented by Binghamton Attorney Veronica Gorman. Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary has been brought in as special prosecutor in the case.
Neither men are in custody at the Tompkins Jail as of Tuesday. They both had until Monday at 5 p.m. to post $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.
In a statement released by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department, Lt. Dan Donahue said, “Walters’ employment status is a personnel matter, which cannot be discussed by this office. As this is not a Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office case, the Sheriff’s Office has been advised to refer all inquiries to Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary, the prosecuting attorney in this case.”
He and Sheriff Kenneth Lansing were previously unable to be reached by phone for comment.
It is likely, however, that Walters is suspended with pay.
When former Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Vann was facing 16 charges for a crime in 2015, Ashley Rackl, executive assistant to the Sheriff Ken Lansing, said the following about why Vann was paid despite his suspension.
“It’s part of the bargaining agreement: It’s in their contract,” Rackl said in a brief interview at the time. “It’s defined in the collective agreement part of the deputies’ union.”
Note: This story has been updated at 2:56 p.m. Dec. 19 to include mugshots that we received after publication. On the left is Deputy Scott Walters while Matthew Pinney is on the right.