Tompkins County Sheriff's Deputy acquitted in rape trial
ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Scott Walters, the Tompkins County Sheriff's deputy who was accused of raping a woman in Lansing in 2013, has been acquitted.
The not guilty verdict came in Wednesday afternoon after hours of deliberation. Walters was initially accused of two counts of first degree rape and one count of first degree sexual assault.
The accuser had told police she, Walters and 32-year-old Matthew Pinney met at a local restaurant before going to Walters' home; there, the accuser says she was raped.
According to the Ithaca Journal, the Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary says the woman could not consent to sexual contact because she was “physically helpless”.
DA Fazzary was handed the case after the Tompkins County District Attorney recused himself due to the fact that a member of the County Sheriff's Office was involved.
Pinney was also reportedly initially indicted on charges of rape and sexual abuse, but his trial was adjourned after he accepted a plea bargain and agreed to testify in Walters' trial.
During closing arguments, the defense argued there is a lack of scientific evidence to convict Walters, including the lack of a rape kit.
However, the prosecution argued there were inconsistencies in Walters's retelling of what happened that night. For example, they say Walters claimed the accuser was sober, but Pinney reportedly said she was motionless during his testimony.
Fazzary tells WENY News he "accepts the jury's decision, he trusts in the system & it was a tough case." Walters arrived in court for the reading of the verdict, but he did not want to comment after adjournment. However his lawyer tells WENY News he's feeling relieved, but fears the public will not respect the jury's decision.
Walters has been on paid administrative leave during the course of the investigation and trial.
Matthew Pinney is now set for an October court date for his plea deal.