Shane Harding, the convicted rapist who hid out in the woods by Skidmore College and forced the campus into a lockdown last fall, has admitted to kidnapping charges that could keep him behind bars for up to three decades.
The 25-year-old Level 3 sex offender from Schodack admitted to a pair of second-degree kidnapping charges in Rensselaer County Court this morning. As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, he’ll serve between 25 to 30 years in state prison, with five years of post-release supervision.
Harding also faces assault charges stemming from a brawl he was involved in while lodged at Rensselaer County Jail and a rape charge out of Massachusetts. Although any sentences in those cases are likely to run concurrently to Harding’s kidnapping conviction, District Attorney Joel Abelove said he’s also likely to face civil confinement given his criminal history.
“He’s a very dangerous guy,” he said. “He belongs in prison for as long as possible and this sentence will effectively keep him off the streets for many, many years.”
Harding, who was convicted of rape in 2008, had been out of jail for less than nine months when caught a ride with a 47-year-old woman in a supermarket parking lot in Troy on Sept. 30. Once inside the vehicle, Harding pulled out what appeared to be a gun and ordered the woman to drive to a lot behind an area business.
The woman was able to escape, but another one of Harding’s victims that day wasn’t as lucky. On the same day, a woman accused him of using what was later determined to be a BB gun to force her to a location in Massachusetts where he raped her.
Later that day, Harding compelled an acquaintance to drive him to several locations in Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties. He eventually fled into the woods by Skidmore, triggering an intense manhunt that forced the campus into lockdown and prompted the college to cancel morning classes on Oct. 1.
Several students spotted a man fitting Harding’s description and called campus safety. Police apprehend him later in the morning and he’s been held without bail ever since.
Prior to the kidnappings, Harding removed an ankle bracelet state police were using to monitor his movements as a parolee. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 2.
“This was a traumatic day for the college that was quickly resolved due to the combined efforts of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, the New York State Police, Saratoga County sheriff, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation police, the New York State Forest and Skidmore’s Campus Safety,” campus spokeswoman Adrea Wise said in an email. “We appreciate their excellent work in dealing with this situation.”