BREAKING: Taggard pleads guilty to misdemeanor; gets no jail

Editor’s note: We’ll be working on this further and will get something up as soon as we can, but for now here’s the text of the press release from Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright:

 

“Last March disturbing allegations concerning the former Chief of Police of the Town of Ulster Police Department, Matthew Taggard, were brought to my attention.

Matthew Taggard. (Photo by Dan Barton)

The allegations were particularly troubling in that it was alleged Taggard engaged in criminal conduct during the course of a program run by the Boy Scouts of America known as the Ulster Police Cadet Program.

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It was also brought to my attention that an investigation had been conducted years ago which did not develop sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.

Working in conjunction with the New York State Police, our office utilized an undercover informant to attempt to engage Taggard in conversations regarding his alleged past criminal conduct. Mindful that the prosecution in state court of any criminal activity which took place at that time would be barred by the Statute of Limitations, our focus was to ascertain whether Taggard had committed any crimes more recently that would not be time barred.

Our investigation failed to develop that evidence. However, the investigation did develop information in sufficient detail to charge former Chief Taggard with Official Misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.

Taggard has admitted his guilt of that charge.

This charge of official misconduct, which Taggard admitted, was that Taggard believed that sexual crimes were being committed, in an adjoining jurisdiction, and failed to take any steps to prevent same, or to notify the appropriate authorities, responsibilities clearly part of his obligation as a police officer, particularly one in a supervisory capacity.

Taggard was sentenced by Saugerties Village Judge Robert Rightmyer to pay a $1,000.00 fine, $205.00 crime victim service fee, a $50.00 DNA collection fee, and a one year conditional discharge.

This office has coordinated this investigation with the FBI. Taggard’s plea to official misconduct will not act as a bar to a federal prosecution should the FBI develop information they deem sufficient to support federal charges.”

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