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Judge Declines to Hear FF Groping Case

Lower Hudson News via YellowBris

May 06, 2010

NORTH SALEM — A town justice has declined to hear the case of an assistant chief of the Croton Falls Fire Department accused of groping a female firefighter at the department’s annual Christmas party in December.

Justice Ralph R. Mackin recused himself from hearing a motion Monday from John Blauvelt, 34, of Carmel to dismiss misdemeanor charges state police lodged against him.

State police charged Blauvelt, a North Salem Highway Department employee, with forcible touching and sexual abuse, both misdemeanors, and harassment , a violation, Dec. 13, 2009, one day after the department’s annual Christmas festivities at fire headquarters.

Blauvelt’s attorney, George J. Calcagnini of Somers, said his client is not guilty and had filed the motion seeking dismissal of the charges.

But Mackin recused himself so it will be up to Administrative Judge Alan D. Scheinkman of the 9th Judicial District to decide where the case will be moved.

As of Wednesday, no decision had been made, a court clerk said.

A second firefighter, also a town highway worker, who was charged in the matter settled his case, which was sealed.

Police said a 27-year-old woman came to the state police barracks at Somers with a fire official Dec. 13 to file a complaint.

A state police investigator who handled the case said there was no physical evidence of a crime and that the charge was based on the woman’s statement.

Calcagnini has said that someone horsing around at the party hit Blauvelt’s arm, which then swung forward and touched the woman.

Although he lives in Carmel, Blauvelt is allowed to be a member of the Croton Falls Fire Department because he works in town.

Fire Commissioner Angelo D’Agostino said Blauvelt had been placed on administrative leave after his arrest but is back on duty.

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