PLATTSBURGH — A SUNY Canton student remains in jail Thursday, one week after he allegedly made an anonymous death threat against students on the social media app Yik Yak, causing a campuswide lockdown.
Alex Vasquez, 20, of Brooklyn, was returned to Clinton County jail without bail by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary L. Favro in federal court in Plattsburgh following a bond hearing Thursday morning.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13, unless Mr. Vazquez chooses to waive that hearing to go to a federal grand jury. If indicted, he would be arraigned in front of Judge Favro and the case would be taken over by a U.S. District Court judge.
Mr. Vazquez, a sophomore who is majoring in mechanical technology, is charged under a section of federal law that prohibits the transmission of any communication containing a threat to injure any person or persons. He could face up to five years in federal prison.
The college had received two anonymous messages threatening people through the social media app Yik Yak on Oct. 23. The first threat was posted about midnight. The second threat indicated that an incident might occur at noon, according to a school alert. The first message stated: “This is a message to all SUNY Canton students, if you value your life do not go to class tomorrow, I plan on killing myself but before that I plan taking as many of you worthless piles of crap, be ready.”
It was not until a second, unspecified threat, sent just before noon on the same application, that led to a seven-hour lockdown and a sweep of the campus by law enforcement.
SUNY Canton officials said they have attributed only the first threat to Mr. Vazquez and the origin of the second threat was still a part of an ongoing investigation.
The college is seeking to have Mr. Vasquez expelled.
Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, Massena, are heading up the investigation in cooperation with the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and SUNY Canton University Police.
Personnel at Yik Yak were fully cooperative and provided crucial information that led to Mr. Vazquez’s arrest, according to SUNY Canton officials.
University police advise anyone with any involvement or information about these threats that it is in their best interest to come forward. University police can be contacted at 386-7777 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Conservative Party candidate seeking to unseat incumbent 115th District Assemblywoman Janet Duprey said Thursday she has filed an ethics complaint against the four-term Republican, alleging she attempted to intimidate a constituent via an official mailing.
Karen Bisso also claimed Duprey has used social media to monitor a person who contacted her and used the information she obtained “as a means of influencing or intimidating voters.”
Duprey called the filing “a last-ditch effort by a desperate campaign to distract voters from issues that matter in the North Country.”
“The fact that the Assemblywoman has since resorted to breaking campaign and ethics laws pales in comparison to the fact that a Government Official is tracking her constituents social media, and the brazenly contacting them and saying ‘I’m watching you and I am aware you are friends with my opponent,” Bisso said in a news release. “There is no better term to describe this than bullying, and it cannot be tolerated on any level.”
This is clearly a last-ditch effort by a desperate campaign to distract voters from issues that matter in the North Country. Other than a desperate candidate, I don’t think anyone questions my ethics and integrity.
I stand behind my 39 years in public service as a county legislator, treasurer and member of the State Assembly, and will let that speak for itself.
My focus is on initiatives to create jobs, build a stronger economy and improve our education. North Country residents deserve substance, rather than silly political tactics.
CRIMINAL POSSESSION WEAPON - MASSENA - Massena-based state police charged Jason C. Crochemore, 26, of 65 Rue Lasalle, Gatineau, Que., with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He reportedly had a four and one quarter inch stainless double edged knife attached to the passenger side sun visor located at 10:32 a.m. Thursday when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were conducting a secondary inspection at the port of entry in Rooseveltown. He was turned over to state police, arraigned by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow and pleaded guilty to a reduced count of a disorderly conduct after negotiations with the district attorney’s office. Crochemore paid a $75 fine and a $125 surcharge and was released from custody.
WATERTOWN — Republican John L. Byrne III is calling on Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, to return $2,500 her office received from a committee associated with disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez and to denounce Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, for his role in the scandal.
Mr. Lopez was accused of sexually harassing women staffers in his office. The state Legislative Ethics Commission concluded Mr. Lopez violated state Public Officers Law. Mr. Lopez resigned from the Assembly in May 2013.
In 2012, Mr. Silver crafted a $103,000 settlement using public funds to address some of the claims brought against Mr. Lopez.
According to the state Board of Elections, Mrs. Russell, a former chairwoman of the Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues, received $2,000 from the Friends of Vito Lopez on Sept. 9, 2008, and $500 from the Friends of Vito Lopez on March 16, 2010.
Mr. Byrne said he was bringing this issue to the fore now, three business days before the election, because of the concerns he has been hearing on the campaign trail.
“Until this point in time, in this campaign, we’ve been reaching out to voters,” Mr. Byrne said. “This is one of the issues that the voters have brought to our attention. ... This cannot continue. I have a six-year-old daughter. and my six-year-old daughter, I believe, deserves equal pay for equal work, as well as, if she wants to follow in my footsteps and go down to Albany and represent us, I don’t want her to be harassed down there.”
Mr. Byrne suggested that if the money could not be returned, Mrs. Russell should donate the money to the Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County Inc.
“This is a desperate attempt by my opponent to try to get away from talking about the issues,” Mrs. Russell said. “Going negative is not a north country value and I will be sticking to the issues in this race, to my record of accomplishments and to the results I have gotten on behalf of the north country.”
Mrs. Russell did not address the issue of whether she would return the money or donate it to charity, as Mr. Byrne suggested.
“You’re really asking me if I’m going to make a political contribution to Vito Lopez?” she said.
Mr. Byrne and Mrs. Russell are running for the 116th Assembly District seat. Also in the race is Conservative candidate Russell J. Finley.
Polls opened at 9 a.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m.
By noon, an estimated 800 people had cast their ballot in Canton, far exceeding the 534 votes cast in May for the budget vote
Turnout was also heavy in Potsdam. Approximately 900 voters had cast their ballots on the proposed school merger by 3:30 p.m.
School Superintendent Patrick Brady said the district has averaged 710 voters in its school board candidate and budget elections in May over the past decade.
Students from both Canton High School and Potsdam High School participated by conducting exit surveys as part of a government class project. The questionnaire asked voters whether they voted yes or no and what factors they considered in making their decision.
POTSDAM - St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department deputies are seeking the public’s assistance in the investigation of a hit and run accident that occurred at approximately 9:15 p.m. Wednesday on the Hewittville Road in the town of Potsdam.
Deputies said the suspect vehicle, believed to be a white Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck, struck a parked car and left the scene.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the sheriff’s department at 379-2222.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT - CANTON - Canton-based state police charged Philip E. Snow, 17, of Canton Wednesday with sexual misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child under 17 years of age.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF - HAMMOND - Ogdensburg-based state police charged Jesse R. Bender, 36, of Hammond with fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment Wednesday stemming from an investigation into a domestic dispute reported to troopers on Oct. 18 from the village of Hammond.
HARASSMENT - MOIRA - Malone-based state police charged Michael C. Garand, 55, of Moira with second-degree harassment following an investigation into an incident reporters to troopers on the late morning of Oct. 15 from the town of Moira. The arrest was made at 800 Route 11, Moira.
CRIMINAL CONTEMPT - BOMBAY - Malone-based state police charged Heather M. Hadlock, 31, of Moira with second-degree criminal contempt Wednesday as part of an investigation into a reported violation of an order of protection complaint filed with troopers on Oct. 21 from the town of Bombay. Matthew W.; Lamica, 32, of Malone was previously charged with second-degree criminal contempt as part of that same investigation. Troopers said the Hadlock arrest was made at 76 Academy St., Malone.
PROPERTY DAMAGE ACCIDENTS - CANTON - State police investigated a number of property damage accidents around the region on Wednesday. Among those:
• Corey J. Monette, 36, of Malone at 7:40 p.m. on County Route 17, near Barrett Road, in the town of Moira.
MASSENA - A Massena man was airlifted to the Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for treatment of multiple facial injuries after he was assaulted Wednesday night by a visitor at his 32 Ridgewood Ave. residence.
Village police charged Trevor J. Secore, 20, of 1109 Maple Ridge Road, Brasher, with second-degree assault following their investigation into the incident.
Matthew K. Baise reportedly was attacked by Mr. Secore at approximately 7 p.m. Wednesday after he told the 20 year old he needed to stop screaming because he was in a nice neighborhood. Mr. Secore, whose mother, Bobbi Jo, was inside the Baise residence, responded by punching Mr. Baise in the face several times.
Mr. Baise, in the statement he provided police, said Mr. Secore arrived in his driveway and started yelling for his mother to come outside.
“Instead of Bobbi Jo going down, I went out and told Trevor he needed to quiet down because this is a nice neighborhood,” he said, noting Mr. Secore had a quick response laced with an obscenity. “I told Trevor if he was going to be like that he could leave.”
He said Mr. Secore then punched him on the left side of the face. “My left side of my face hurt like hell,” Mr. Baise acknowledged.
He said he grabbed Mr. Secore by the legs to try and protect himself and tackled his attacker. He said his attacker continued to punch him in he back of the head and face before running away.
Mr. Baise was initially treated at Massena Memorial Hospital before being transferred to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for treatment of his injuries.
Police charged Mr. Secore with the assault count at 11:31 p.m. Wednesday. Sgt. Adam J. Love said alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the incident and indicated witnesses suggested Mr. Secore simply became enraged when he was asked to quiet down.
Mr. Secore was arraigned by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow early Thursday morning and sent to the St. Lawrence County Jail, Canton, with bail set at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond recommended by St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Sara Clothier.
Mr. Secore was represented by St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Steve Ballan under the county’s attorney at first felony arraignment program.
Mr. Secore, then listing a 9378 Route 56, Norfolk, address, had pleaded guilty in February to second-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse. He was placed on interim probation with the opportunity to earn youthful offender status but was warned he could be sentenced to up to 14 years in state prison for those two convictions.
He was originally facing charges including two counts each of first-degree rape, second-degree rape, and first-degree sexual abuse, all felonies, and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child.
Mr. Secore admitted in court to having had sex with the minor by forcible compulsion during the summer of 2012. He was 18 at the time of the incident.
AGGRAVATED UNLICENSED OPERATION - POTSDAM - Village police ticketed Justin P. Yelle, 24, of
Avon, Ohio, with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and ticketed him for failure to obey a traffic control device following a traffic stop at 2:16 a.m. Wednesday on Main Street. Polic said they made the traffic stop after they allegedly observed hs vehicle drive straight through a turn only lane while southbound on Market Street. During the traffic stop, they determined Yelle’s operating privileges had been suspended in New York state.
CELL PHONE - POTSDAM - Village police ticketed Audrey L. Gilbert, 27, of St. Regis Falls for driving while using an electronic portable device at 10:14 a.m. Wednesday following a traffic stop on Pine Street.
LEAVING THE SCENE - POTSDAM - Village police ticketed Mario M. Benedetti, 18, of Cazenovia for leaving the scene of a property damage accident at 12:08 p.m. Wednesday, a short time after Clarkson Security had reported a property damage hit-and-run accident in a campus parking lot. Police said Benedetti was located on the Clarkson campus.
FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY - POTSDAM - Village police ticketed Frederick F. Goebel, 80, of North Brunswick, N.J., for following too closely at 10:35 a.m. Wednesday following a property damage accident
on Clarkson Avenue. Police allege Goebel rear ended a vehicle that was stopped at a cross walk.
The Police Blotter
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014
0045 Potsdam Rescue dispatched to a call.
0051 Patrols responded to a report of a possible domestic incident.
0123 Patrols responded to Leroy St. for a disorderly subject.
0216 Traffic stop completed. Tickets issued.
0224 Traffic stop completed. Verbal warning issued.
0248 Potsdam Rescue dispatched to a call.
0803 Potsdam Rescue dispatched to a call.
0847 Property damage accident on Pine Street.
0934 Local law violation on Market Street.
0941 Potsdam Rescue dispatched to a call.
0957 Cell phone found on Broad Street.
1033 Potsdam Rescue dispatched to a call.
1035 Property damage accident on Clarkson Ave.
1152 Commercial burglar alarm on Elm Street.
1208 Property damage accident on Clarkson campus.
1457 Traffic stop on Sandstone Drive. Verbal warning issued.
1518 Larceny reported at Canton-Potsdam Hospital on Leroy Street.
1527 Equipment inspection completed for a subject.
1636 Fingerprints completed for a subject.
1706 Traffic stop on Sandstone Drive. Verbal warning issued.
1720 Reckless driver complaint on Leroy Street.
1739 Subject attempted to purchase alcohol with a fraudulent identification. Investigation pending.
1812 Record check completed for the New York State Police for a pistol permit applicant.
2054 Dispatched Potsdam Rescue to a call.
2156 Dispatched Potsdam Rescue to a call.
2338 Traffic stop on Market Street. Verbal warning issued.
CRIMINAL CONTEMPT - WADDINGTON - St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department deputies charged Tammy J. Raleigh, 49, of 5 Hamilton St., Waddington, with second-degree criminal contempt Tuesday after she allegedly violated the terms of an order of protection. She was released on an appearance ticket for Waddington Town Court.