Crime

Former Erie County Social Services Commissioner sentenced to prison for raping employee

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) - Former Erie County Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger has been sentenced to five years in prison, plus 10 years of post-release supervision, for raping a woman during a work trip in Albany.

In December of 2017, Dirschberger raped the 28-year-old subordinate employee in the Renaissance Hotel.

After Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz learned about the incident, he asked Dirschberger to resign, which he did.

Dirschberger was convicted of rape and criminal sex act charges last month.

Initially, Dirschberger's attorney claimed what happened was consensual, but a jury in Albany did not believe that.

Dirschberger was jailed after his conviction.

During his sentencing, Dirschberger declined to address the court.

Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon released a statement on Dirschberger's sentencing. Read it below:

"Today, former Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger got what he deserved. This story has bothered me for more than a year now. The whole culture that allowed a Commissioner to invite a junior level staffer to a conference so he could prey on her is troubling.  Beyond troubling, is the finding in the Special Counsel's report that the victim he raped had previously complained to management about his behavior toward her and it went unchecked. A grand jury of his peers indicted him, another jury convicted him, and now he knows his punishment.  It is my hope that his victim somehow finds peace, and my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family at this time as well as Mr. Dirschberger’s family."

 The victim asked the judge to show as much mercy to Dirschberger as he showed her and that's just what the judge did.

“The defendants explanation and quite frankly I would say incredulous explanation to the court that this was simply consensual sex cannot be reconciled with the physical evidence, particularly the injuries to the victim in this case,” said Roger McDonough, the acting Albany County Supreme Court Justice.

Albany County assistant DA Jennifer McCanney prosecutes several sex crimes for the DA's office and the victim resilient.

“I’m just happy that for her not being from the area coming here and finding the comfort and the support that she needed to disclose and follow through with the process. I’m happy that we could provide that for her,” McCanney said. 

Dirschberger was sentenced to five years in prison. 
 


 


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