TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — Matthew Pinney pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors of attempted forcible touching and reckless endangerment Thursday in Tompkins County Court. He was subsequently sentenced to one year of probation on one charge, and a conditional discharge for the other.
Pinney’s charges are a reduction from the original charges he faced of first-degree rape and sexual assault that were tied to a reported incident Feb. 2, 2013.
Pinney’s plea was part of an agreement he made in May in exchange for testifying against Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Walters in September. The cases have been prosecuted by Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary.
A jury found Walters not guilty of all charges, including rape and sexual abuse. On the stand, Pinney told jurors that he had sex with a woman who was possibly drugged and too “out of it” to consent. Prior to the trial, he had maintained in court proceedings that the sex was consensual. Pinney’s testimony and whether it should be considered credible was a key part of closing arguments in the trial.
Asked why he decided to offer the plea deal to Pinney following Walters’ verdict, Fazzary said, “In my mind, the person who orchestrated this was Scott Walters. As much as (defense attorney Veronica Gorman) said during the trial this is just Scott Walters, just the person Scott Walters, not the police officer, I was looking at it the entire time saying if he did this, he cannot be a police officer any longer.”