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Ellicott town supervisor charged

Pictured is the Ellicott Town Hall. Photo by Katrina Fuller

Public lewdness and child endangerment charges have been filed against the town supervisor in Ellicott.

Patrick W. McLaughlin, 72, was scheduled to appear in court at a later date.

Investigators with the New York State Police, upon being contacted this week by the Ellicott Police Department, looked into a complaint of “an individual in the village of Celoron, allegedly exposing himself to children.” An arrest was made after the state police “conducted a thorough investigation,” Capt. Eric Balon of the state police said.

McLaughlin, a Celoron resident, was processed on charges of public lewdness, first-degree public lewdness and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child before being released.

William Ohnmeiss Jr., chief of the Ellicott Police Department, said two juveniles this week came forward to a school resource officer at Southwestern Central School to make the complaint. The incident did not occur at the school, and Ellicott police — upon confirming who was involved — referred the information to another agency.

“We contacted the state police, obviously, to be transparent,” Ohnmeiss said. “We turned it over and they acted swiftly.”

McLaughlin did not return a call Wednesday afternoon to comment on the charges.

Southwestern notified parents this week of “allegations of disturbing conduct by a private citizen within the district’s boundaries,” according to a copy of the statement that went out. The district said its school resource officer was immediately made aware and stressed that no district employee was involved and that the incident in question did not occur on school grounds.

Ohnmeiss said he has known the town supervisor for many years.

“It’s an unfortunate incident, sadly,” he said. “Sometimes people make poor choices and mistakes; it’s going to be hard on his family. I would hope that when people make mistakes or choices that it doesn’t define them for all the good they have done.”

Janet Bowman, deputy town supervisor, could not be reached Wednesday.

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