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Order of protection issued against Schenectady police lieutenant

Order of protection issued against Schenectady police lieutenant

Could keep officer from seeing his son Thursday, attorney says
Order of protection issued against Schenectady police lieutenant
Lt. Mark McCracken stands Wednesday outside Schenectady City Court with his girlfriend.
Photographer: Andrew Beam

SCHENECTADY — Lt. Mark McCracken will no longer be able to have contact with his estranged wife after a temporary order of protection was issued Wednesday.

Niskayuna Town Judge Steve Swinton signed the order in Schenectady City Court in response to a request for the order by Schenectady County Assistant District Attorney Kyle Petit.

The new order comes after McCracken was accused of violating a previously issued order of custody and visitation — he and his wife are in the process of divorcing — by coming in “close physical proximity” to his wife, Cassie Walker, at a Union College hockey rink during their son’s hockey game on Jan. 7.

McCracken was charged with second-degree criminal contempt on Jan. 16 based on the incident.

Rebecca Bauscher, McCracken’s attorney, argued the new order wasn’t necessary because there was already “stay away language” in the previous order signed by state Supreme Court Judge Barry Kramer on Dec. 8.

The original order, Bauscher said, was amended on Feb. 9 by Kramer to specify that McCracken and Walker could only have contact during their son’s activities, his medical appointments and the exchange of their son during court-ordered visitations.

Now, McCracken will not be able to see his son during a scheduled visitation Thursday because of the new order, Bauscher told Swinton.

McCracken remains on paid administrative leave from the police force because of the criminal charge, according to Bauscher.

Swinton said the couple's options include arranging a third party to be in charge of handing over the couple’s son to McCracken, or they could go back to Kramer to get the order of protection amended.

Petit said the District Attorney’s Office was “not a party” to the original order, meaning his office would have no knowledge of any changes made to it.

Bauscher questioned why the District Attorney’s Office was making the request now, calling it “completely unnecessary.”

“I honestly don’t know how [McCracken] will be able to see his kid for their scheduled visitation,” Bauscher said, adding it will also cost McCracken more in legal fees. “The DA’s office is unreasonably railroading [McCracken].”

Petit said an order of protection should have been requested by the prosecutor during McCracken’s arraignment on the criminal contempt charge, though no such order was issued during his first or second court appearances. He said Walker did ask for the order of protection. He did not know why the DA's office did not seek it previously.

“We’re doing what we can to protect the victim,” Petit said.

The purpose for Wednesday’s appearance was for the District Attorney’s Office to respond to Bauscher’s Jan. 31 motion to dismiss the charge against McCracken.

Bauscher previously argued McCracken didn’t violate the original order because he was allowed to attend his son’s hockey game, and that all he did was try to give his son a hug goodbye when Walker “yanked his son away from him.”

In papers responding to the motion, Assistant District Attorney Maria Apruzzese said Walker was taking her son to the locker room when McCracken began screaming at them. 

As Walker tried walking away, she claimed, McCracken “continued to follow me, screaming and coming at me into the locker room,” according to Apruzzese.

Walker also has a criminal charge against her in Niskayuna Town Court.

Court officials said Walker was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, for allegedly taking $1,202.16 from McCracken's Key Bank account on June 23.

McCracken filed a complaint against Walker on Aug. 15 and she was arrested and arraigned on Dec. 20.

McCracken would not comment Wednesday. He is due back in court on March 7.

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