A former Cheektowaga Town Councilman was sentenced Tuesday to probation for one year, a consequence for a road rage incident involving his estranged wife earlier this year.
In addition to probation, James Rogowski was ordered to undergo a 40-week domestic violence program. State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Haendiges also imposed a new order of protection, preventing Rogowski from having any contact with his wife and three children.
He pleaded guilty in September to one count of Second Degree Attempted Criminal Contempt, a Class B misdemeanor. In February, prosecutors say, Rogowski followed his wife's vehicle in an aggressive manner which led her to fear for her safety. This action violated a court-ordered Order of Protection forbidding any contact with his spouse.
Neither Rogowski nor his attorney commented outside the courtroom. The defendant also withheld comment inside the courtroom at first but then asked to make a statement late in proceedings. However, after a brief conference with his attorney, he changed his mind and offered no such statement.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn called the sentence fair and explained that he pursued the Class B charge after consultation with the defendant's wife. Flynn stated that Mrs. Rogowski expressed worries about her estranged husband losing his job in the Lockport School District and, thus, losing the financial support for her children.
"I, quite frankly, went above and beyond the call of duty and reached out to the school district where he works to ascertain from them whether he pled to an A misdemeanor if he'd lose his job, whether or not he pled to a B misdemeanor how that would affect his job," Flynn said.
According to the district attorney, Rogowski remains employed and again stated that it was because of the concerns of the defendant's wife that he chose to pursue the B misdemeanor count.
Shortly after his guilty plea in September, Rogowski was ordered by a judge to give up his seat on the Cheektowaga Town Board.