A Johnstown police officer who also serves as Montgomery County’s emergency management director and a volunteer fire chief is facing a felony rape charge over allegations he had sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl.
Adam Schwabrow, 32, of Johnstown, is charged with third-degree rape, Police Chief Mark Gifford said Friday.
Schwabrow has served on the Johnstown Police Department for about nine years and, up until this week, patrolled the streets as a K-9 officer. Married with children, he earns a salary of between $55,000 and $60,000 as a police officer, Gifford said.
He’s been placed on paid administrative leave from the police department and Montgomery County.
Schwabrow is also a volunteer firefighter with the town of Mohawk Fire Department.
Gifford declined to comment on whether he’ll seek Schwabrow’s resignation, citing confidentiality in personnel issues.
Gifford joined Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira in Johnstown City Court to announcement the arrest Friday afternoon.
“Obviously it’s, to say the least, an embarrassing day for this agency, but police officers that work here are not above the law, and we investigate any and all complaints, be it against a civilian or a police officer,” Gifford said.
Police learned about the allegations this week, but Gifford said the incident took place “within the past year, year and a half.”
He declined to specify any circumstances or a precise date of the alleged activity.
The charges are likely to complicate several cases working their way through the legal system because Schwabrow is a primary witness, Sira said, though it’s unclear how many.
“It does complicate the process, obviously,” she said, adding Schwabrow’s case will require a special prosecutor.
Sira said there’s no forcible element to the rape charge filed and said she has no information indicating any illegal action took place while Schwabrow was on duty. Gifford wouldn’t comment on whether the alleged incident occurred during work hours.
“This investigation is ongoing, and really, I’m not going to talk about that at this time,” he said.
Schwabrow was appointed emergency management director for Montgomery County in October 2012, a part-time position paying $25,000. He took the position after his father, Dwight Schwabrow, retired.
He is being replaced by Deputy Emergency Management Director Rick Sager until further notice, Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Thayer said in a statement released Friday.
“I am saddened to learn of recent developments pertaining to the arrest of Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Adam Schwabrow. After learning of these events, I have taken immediate action and placed Mr. Schwabrow on administrative leave with pay pending more information and future developments,” Thayer said in the statement.
A court date for Schwabrow was set for Tuesday, but it’s likely to be put off while a new judge and prosecutor are sought, Sira said.
Schwabrow did not return messages left on his cellphone Friday.