|...Officer Schmidt pleaded guilty to simple assault in a 1996 domestic violence incident, but later withdrew that plea saying he didn't fully understand its implications...|
BY STACY BROWN
[Excerpts] A 44-year-old Scranton police officer accused of fondling a 16-year-old girl surrendered to New York state police Friday only to face more charges. Theodore Schmidt was arraigned in Kirkwood, N.Y., on charges of third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors. After posting $1,500 bail, state police officers escorted Officer Schmidt to the nearby town of Triangle, where he was arraigned on the same charges. "The charges in Triangle are the same as in Kirkwood with the same girl"... Officer Schmidt pleaded guilty to simple assault in a 1996 domestic violence incident, but later withdrew that plea saying he didn't fully understand its implications. The incident involved his girlfriend, Rose Maxwell, who said she lied about the July 22, 1996, incident that led to the officer's plea because she was mentally ill at the time. She said she provoked the argument by biting Officer Schmidt on the arm. Officer Schmidt said he yanked her arm away because he was afraid she might grab his handgun. He pleaded guilty, the officer said, because he thought his job was safe and he did not want to see Ms. Maxwell go through a trial. The two reconciled in 1999 after Ms. Maxwell agreed to seek mental-health treatment...