QUEENSBURY — A former Warren County correction officer pleaded guilty Friday to sexually assaulting a woman who was staying at a rental vacation home near his home last summer, a plea that will send him to jail for up to 6 months.
Daniel W. Hitchcock, 31, pleaded guilty to felony third-degree burglary and misdemeanor forcible touching for the July 15 incident at a home on Edwards Hill Road in Johnsburg.
He admitted going into a home without permission and fondling a woman who was there. A plea deal to which he agreed includes a six-month jail sentence to be followed by 5 years on probation.
State Police said the victim was among a group of women renting the home in Bakers Mills when Hitchcock approached them a number of times, attempting to hang out with them. They rebuffed his overtures, but one awoke around 5 a.m. one morning to a man in bed with her fondling her buttocks and thighs.
She ran from the room screaming, and police arrested Hitchcock, who lived several homes away, later in the day.
Hitchcock told Warren County Judge John Hall that his intention was to have sexual contact with an occupant of the home when he went in without permission and fondled her as she slept.
‘You were planning on engaging in some sort of sexual contact with a woman in that home? Hall asked.
“Yes,” Hitchcock replied.
Hitchcock is to be sentenced March 27, though he surrendered himself Friday to begin his jail term.
Trial in the case had been scheduled for March 25.
His lawyer, Brian Breedlove, said Hitchcock had been drinking before the crimes. He said the plea came after a “cost-benefit” analysis that weighed the potential prison sentence he could face. He could have faced up to 15 years in state prison for second-degree burglary.
Despite the pleas to sexually motivated crimes, Hitchcock will not have to register as a sex offender, as forcible touching is not an offense that requires registration under state law, Breedlove said.
Hitchcock worked at Warren County Jail for a period of time in 2013, but was dismissed for reasons that the Warren County Sheriff’s Office would not detail.
He has worked for the Johnsburg Highway Department, where his father is highway superintendent, since then, and remained employed with the department after his arrest.
Town Supervisor Andrea Hogan would not comment on Hitchcock’s status with the town as of Friday.