TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — Though a trial was scheduled to begin for Matthew Pinney on Thursday, the trial was adjourned before it started. Pinney was indicted in late 2017 on charges of rape and sexual abuse. He was charged along with Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Walters, who is still scheduled to stand trial later this year. As of Monday, Pinney’s record is sealed in Tompkins County Court.
Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary, who is the special prosecutor for the two cases, said via email Monday, “the Pinney matter has been adjourned upon consent of the parties until after the Walters trial.”
Walters is expected to go to trial around September, Fazzary said.
Pinney and Walters were charged with rape and sexual abuse in December 2017, but the charges stem from an investigation into an incident on Feb. 2, 2013. According to the accusations in court records, the two men allegedly raped and sexually assaulted a woman who could not consent “by reason of being physically helpless” while at Walters’ home in Lansing. According to court documents, the woman had a sexual assault evidence collection kit done after the incident because she believed she’d been drugged.
The case has been slow to go to trial after the 2017 indictment because the parties were awaiting a decision on an appeal regarding who should prosecute the case. The case was initially assigned to Fazzary due to a potential conflict of interest with the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office since Walters is a county deputy. Attorney Edward Kopko, who was representing Pinney, argued in an appeal that a special prosecutor should not have been assigned, but the court did not agree.
In January, an appeals court ruled that Fazzary’s appointment was appropriate, and he is expected to prosecute the case against Walters later this year.