QUEENSBURY — A Johnsburg town employee and former county corrections officer who police said sneaked into a vacation rental home to sexually assault a woman one morning last summer was sentenced Wednesday after he heard an emotional statement from the victim.
Daniel W. Hitchcock, 31, offered something of an apology in court on Wednesday after he heard a victims impact statement written by the victim, who spoke about the effect the July 15 attack still has on her months later.
She said she frequently has night terrors, sleeping with the lights on out of fear for her safety. She said Hitchcock will finish his sentence at some point, but she will have to live with what happened for the rest of her life.
“I feel as though I will forever question how safe I am, even in my own home,” she wrote in a statement read into the court record by Warren County Crime Victims Specialist Emily Wilson.
The incident has also lingered with the female friends with whom she was staying, the woman added.
“We will never forget what happened that night,” her statement read.
After hearing the woman’s statement, Hitchcock told Hall, “I’m sorry this occurred,” but had no further statement.
Authorities said the women were staying at a home on Edwards Hill Road that they rented through the website Airbnb when Hitchcock went in through an unlocked door, hopped into bed with the victim and fondled her buttocks and thighs.
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Hitchcock lived near the home and had tried to socialize with the women earlier, but police said he had been rebuffed. The women had tried to barricade the home, because they were concerned about him. His father said later he had been drinking wine.
The woman was asleep when Hitchcock got into bed with her, and when she woke up, she screamed and he fled, according to State Police. He was arrested later that day.
Hitchcock pleaded guilty earlier this year to felony burglary and misdemeanor forcible touching charges. His plea deal called for a 6-month jail sentence, to be followed by 5 years on probation, which Warren County Judge John Hall imposed.
Hitchcock has been serving the jail sentence since his guilty pleas in March. He has been held in Washington County Jail in light of his past employment at Warren County Jail.
He was an employee of the Johnsburg Highway Department at the time of his arrest, working for his father, Highway Superintendent Daniel Hitchcock.
He previously worked as a corrections officer at Warren County Jail, where he left under circumstances that the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said it could not publicly disclose.
Hitchcock’s employment status with the town was not available Wednesday. Town Supervisor Andrea Hogan has refused to comment on it, so The Post-Star has filed a Freedom of Information Law request that Hogan said would be forwarded to the town records access officer.