Video: Police watchdog on run from NY police after sexual abuse charge
The Cop Block contributor claimed he was targeted by police for exposing their misconduct
By Kenneth C. Crowe II, J.P. Lawrence and Robert Gavin
ALBANY, N.Y. — Adam Rupeka, the self-styled police watchdog who was charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl, is on the run from police who he says have targeted him for his efforts to expose their misconduct, according to Internet postings.
On Tuesday morning, his girlfriend, Jennifer Ogburn, failed to appear in Troy City Court to face misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child, sexual abuse and forcible touching of the 15-year-old girl.
A City Court judge issued an arrest warrant for Ogburn. Rupeka is due in court Friday.
Over the weekend, Rupeka and Ogburn were sent to Rensselaer County Jail on $5,000 bail. Rupeka was immediately bailed out and returned to the jail to bail out Ogburn, the sheriff's office said.
"I am now on the run for my life and this is all because of everything I've exposed of police doing," Rupeka said in a video posted Monday on YouTube and his Facebook page, Capital District Cop Block.
"As soon as I get to another safe location, I'll make an update to let everybody know what's going on."
In May, Rupeka, 36, caught the public's attention when he flashed his middle finger at a Saratoga Springs police officer while driving in the city and videotaped the officer pepper-spraying him. The officer's action followed Rupeka's refusal to get out of his car without hearing what he was being charged with. Rupeka received a $50,000 settlement, and the officer,Nathan Baker, resigned.
In September, State Police said Rupeka operated a drone equipped with a camera that crashed into a chimney at the state Capitol and was charged with reckless endangerment. But on March 17, Albany City Court Judge Rachel Kretser dismissed the charges.
She ruled that Albany County prosecutors used conflicting legal arguments in charging Rupeka, adding, "serious questions remain as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes a crime under current New York penal law. Given the potential consequences to persons and property from the operation of drones in highly populated areas, it appears the regulation and lawful usage of this increasingly popular technology is ripe for legislative action." The district attorney's office is not expected to appeal.
On Tuesday in Troy City Court, Beau Allen Melita of the Rensselaer County district attorney's office sought an arrest warrant for Ogburn by citing a Facebook post that indicated the couple may be in Edmonton, Alberta, with no plans to return.
Public defender Bill Roberts questioned the appropriateness of relying on the social media site for evidence in a court of law.
Melita said "The Facebook post indicates, 'We are never coming home,' and the defendant tags herself as being in Canada."
Roberts then asked why the prosecution cited social media but did not check with Ogburn's probation officer as to her whereabouts.
Melita said in the post Ogburn "indicated she's on the lam," and this backed up the need for a warrant.
Copyright 2016 the Times Union