Former substitute, coach sentenced to 6 months for sex crime

Convicted sex offender Christopher MacArthur (l) and his attorney Michael Howard appeared in Columbia County Court August 12 for sentencing. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—Christopher MacArthur, 24, of Claverack was sentenced to spend six months in the Columbia County Jail and 10 years probation for his conviction of third degree criminal sexual act, August 12. Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek issued an order of protection on behalf of the victim for 18 years, the maximum time period allowed, and said he must register as a sex offender.

Mr. MacArthur, a former substitute teacher and varsity volleyball coach at Taconic Hills Central School, was involved in a sexual relationship with a person less than 17 years old for several months and committed the crime in Claverack.

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Senior Investigator Mark Dunspaugh handled the case and made the arrest. Assistant District Attorney Krista Kline prosecuted.

Michael Howard, Esq. represented Mr. MacArthur.

According to District Attorney Paul Czajka, “the survivor provided a very compelling victim impact statement immediately prior to Judge Koweek imposing sentence. I commend her for her courage.”

The district attorney also announced that August 6, a Columbia County jury returned a verdict of not guilty in the rape trial of Jeffrey Barmen, 44, of Stockport. This was the third trial of this indictment, the first two having resulted in hung juries. Mr. Barmen was represented by defense attorney Cheryl Coleman.

Mr. Czajka commended the witness for her bravery and patience.

The trial for Mr. Barmen’s indictments charging him with four counts of criminal contempt, severed from the rape indictment, will occur in the coming months.

In other county court news announced by the DA:

*John Acklin, 55, of Bandera, TX, was convicted by verdict of 16 counts of sexually assaulting two children: one count of first degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a class B felony; 10 counts of first degree criminal sexual act, a class B felony; one count of first degree aggravated sexual abuse, a class B felony; and four counts of second degree aggravated sexual abuse, a class C felony, August 9. Several counts were dismissed prior to trial because of the Statue of Limitations. The crimes were committed in Livingston between December 2004 and March 2006.

“As long as I’ve been dealing with these cases, the courage of child survivors never ceases to amaze me. With their compelling testimony, New York State Police Investigator Robin Reed’s tenacity, the assistance of two highly-experienced Texas Rangers, and Chief Assistant District Attorney Jim Carlucci’s skillful presentation, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all 16 of 16 sex counts within 90 minutes,” the DA said in a press release.

The court will sentence Mr. Acklin October 4. The DA stated that he is certain that Mr. Acklin will serve the remainder of his life in prison. John Hillman is the defense attorney. Chief Assistant District Attorney Carlucci prosecuted.

*Morgan Sheldon, 44, of Chatham was sentenced by Judge Jonathan D. Nichols July 11, to 15 years with the State Department of Corrections upon his conviction by plea of first degree rape. Mr. Sheldon committed the crime in Stuyvesant. Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Senior Investigator Mark Dunspaugh, Investigator Reagan Anderson and Deputy Michael Meier investigated this matter and arrested Mr. Sheldon, who was represented by the Public Defender.

*William Morehouse, 26, of Albany was sentenced by Judge Nichols July 11, to two years with the State Department of Corrections upon his conviction by plea of second degree attempted burglary. The crime was committed in the Town of Chatham. Sheriff’s Office Senior Investigator Kevin Skype, Investigator Patrick Logue and Deputy Jason Garvey investigated this matter and arrested Mr. Morehouse, who was represented by the Public Defender.

*Meghan Herchenroder, 32, of Niverville was sentenced by Judge Nichols July 11, to two to four years with the State Department of Corrections (with credit for time served) upon her conviction of first degree attempted promoting prison contraband. Ms. Herchenroder committed the crime in Greenport. Sheriff’s Office First Sergeant Jeremy Huyck, Corrections Officer Meagan Shelley and Deputy Jordan Brahm investigated this matter and arrested Ms. Herchenroder, who was represented by Eric Schillinger.

To contact Diane Valden email

Trooper Justin Bell and his K-9 partner, Tilly. Photo contributed

Bloodhound Tilly and trooper partner find ‘endangered adult’


NEW LEBANON—An “endangered adult” was found in good health after a bloodhound tracked that person down, July 30. State Police from the New Lebanon barracks were dispatched to a County Route 9 location at 12:20 p.m. for a missing endangered adult, according to a press release from State Police.

State Police aviation and Trooper Justin Bell, Troop K bloodhound handler, with his partner, Tilly, also responded.

The victim’s direction of travel was unknown, and the trail was about four hours old when State Police were contacted. Temperatures that day reached 92 degrees Fahrenheit creating a safety concern for the victim.

Trooper Bell and Tilly arrived on scene, and quickly got to work sniffing out the victim who also suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Tilly immediately locked onto the scent trail, and after 15 minutes of tracking, Trooper Bell and Tilly found the victim safely on a wood line.

Trooper Bell and Tilly are assigned to Troop K, Zone 1, SP Livingston.


State Police arrested a Bronx man in connection with a bail scam.

Jose Antonetti, 37, of the Bronx was charged with third degree grand larceny, a class D felony, by State Police from the New Lebanon barracks and Livingston Bureau of Criminal Investigation, July 24.

Victims reported receiving a phone call from a scam artist stating their grandson needed to be bailed out of jail, July 23. The caller claimed to represent their grandson and allegedly demanded $5,000, which the victims agreed to pay in cash.

After they paid this fraudulent bail the scam artist allegedly demanded another $10,000. The victims then became suspicious and contacted the State Police. An investigation determined Mr. Antonetti drove from New York City to the victims’ residence, and stole the $5,000.

Mr. Antonetti was arraigned in Claverack Court by Justice Michael Brandon and was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 secure bond. He was next scheduled to appear in Chatham Town Court at a later date.

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