Monday's print edition: There is talk of deal for Rosney
Word is, the plea deal in the works includes the 53-year-old, 26-year veteran of the Troy Police Department serving no jail time, spending five years on probation and registering as a sex offender. He stands charged with attempting to disseminate indecent material to a minor and endangering the welfare of a child after getting caught up in an internet sting where the 14-year-old girl he propositioned was actually a detective from the New York City Police Department. Obviously, there is no deal finalized yet so all that could change but that’s the talk as of right now.
Rosney is innocent until proven guilty, as is anyone charged with a crime, but after reading the deposition from the NYPD detective — the photo Rosney allegedly sent of his penis was, mercifully, withheld — it sounds like he really doesn’t have that strong of a defense so I see no other way out but copping a plea (no pun intended.) If he takes it to a jury, and he’s found guilty he’s looking at four years in jail. That penalty would have increased substantially if the NYPD kept the ruse going long enough for Rosney to actually make the trip to Queens and meet up with the “14-year-old” but he was arrested in Troy, days before the meet-up was scheduled.
I talked to some cops and some defense attorneys about the plea deal and the timing of the arrest and both are plausible. While the courtesy of arresting him before the meet-up probably wouldn’t be extended to ordinary civilians, it’s not that unusual given the fact part of being a cop is having the right to carry a concealed firearm — at the time anyway — and officer safety is of paramount importance. In the NYPD’s mind, there wasn’t any sense in taking a chance on inviting an armed man into a sting when he could have just as easily been arrested beforehand.
To the second point, the no jail time and five years probation one, I guess as far as the legal system is concerned we have to put aside the fact he is a cop. He’s a first time offender — as far as we know — and it’s a non-violent felony. And it’s out of New York City, where some eight million people live so I’m guessing there are thousands of non-violent felons clogging the court system. In the grand scheme of things, what Rosney did — and was going to do — probably isn’t high on the priority list. Right or wrong, that’s just the way it goes. In a lot of ways New York City is a different world because up here, I don’t think just probation would fly.
Yea, I know, on the one hand he got off with a lighter charge because he was a cop and legally could carry a gun and on the flip side of that he could very well plea to a sentence as if he were just one of eight million people facing a non-violent felony and didn’t carry a badge for 26 years.
Anyway, needless to say, its’ widely expected Rosney will retire as soon as possible and, as per state law, collect his full pension for 26 years on the force. Again, right or wrong, that’s just the way it goes.
Outside of a quick and quiet plea/retirement, the only outstanding issue is what, if anything, they found or will find on the four computers confiscated from his City of Rensselaer home. I’m told the days and times Rosney was chatting with the “14-year-old” he was either on vacation or off duty but they are checking his TPD computer too.
Obviously, if anything incriminating is found, all bets are off as far as the plea goes.
Smoke and mirrors
The much talked about Troy smoking ban might have passed but then again it might not have — it depends on who you talk to.
Some say the ordinance banning smoking from parks and playgrounds where children congregate needed six votes since it wasn’t aged properly. Others claim the aging process started when the Parks and Recreation Committee moved it to the Council agenda and the five votes it got is sufficient.
Based on the Council’s abysmal track record of following the proper procedures I’m guessing it needed six votes.
But, from a legal standpoint — provided Mayor Lou Rosamilia signs the legislation, which he has indicated he will do — it won’t make a difference unless some smokers’ rights group challenges it in court. From a practical standpoint I don’t think it means much either. I just don’t see Troy cops out there patrolling playgrounds on the lookout for someone smoking a Marlboro.
What it does, though, is allow the city to put up signs on said parks and playgrounds warning people to not light up or face a $50 fine. It’s kind of like coming to a stop light at 4 a.m. with nobody else around. Odds are you could just blow through it and not get caught but the vast majority of people tend to stop anyway. Furthermore, I just don’t think the vast majority of smokers lighting up while they are pushing Junior on the swings.
In the end, the vote last week to ban smoking might have been nothing more than symbolic, but so is the law itself so I for one think it was appropriately done.
There is the whole government intrusion thing to worry about, but when they try to ban smoking from a person’s home or car — then it’s a call to arms.
This week’s Talespin was written by James V. Franco. He can be reached at 478-5343 or by email at email@example.com