QUEENSBURY — A Queensbury man who has served as a lieutenant and vice president for the Queensbury Central Fire Co. was arrested late Thursday for allegedly sending lewd material to a child and having unwanted contact with him, officials said.
John M. Novohradsky, 53, of Berry Patch Drive, was charged with disseminating indecent material to a minor, a felony, and misdemeanor forcible touching after an investigation by State Police into allegations raised about improper contact with a teen who was under the age of 17 and too young to legally consent.
He is accused of providing lewd materials to the teen, and the misdemeanor count alleges he “forcibly touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person, or for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire,” according to state Penal Law.
Authorities said the child, with whom Novohradsky was acquainted and he knew through his position in fire service, disclosed the allegations to a parent who contacted police. Officials said Novohradsky confessed to State Police investigators when he was questioned.
The Fire Department suspended him when learning of the arrest.
He was arraigned Friday morning and released on his own recognizance pending prosecution in Queensbury Town Court.
Novohradsky was a former fire chief of the Buchanan Engine Co. in Westchester County before he became a member of Queensbury Central in 2013.
Queensbury Central’s leadership roster had been scrubbed of his name as of Friday morning, though he was still listed among the active members. Calls to the department’s chief and president were not returned Friday.
The department issued a statement Friday that read, “The Queensbury Central Volunteer Fire Company has just been informed of an arrest of one our members, John Novohradsky. To protect the members of our organization and the community, the officials of the fire company took immediate action to suspend this member indefinitely, pending the outcome of the State Police investigation.”
Novohradsky’s Facebook page was also edited Friday, with his involvement with Queensbury Central removed from his profile.
Novohradsky was represented by the Warren County Public Defender’s Office at his arraignment.
Public Defender Marcy Flores said her office was assigned at any arraignment, but she said it was unclear whether he would be represented by the office going forward. Representation is based on income, and Novohradsky’s Facebook page shows he is employed by a public safety software company
State Police asked that anyone with information about the case contact them at 518-583-7000.
The felony charge is punishable by up to 4 years in state prison.