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Adams Center woman who claimed harassment by undersheriff accused of possessing stolen credit cards


ADAMS — An Adams Center woman whose allegations of sexual harassment brought against Jefferson County Undersheriff Andrew R. Neff prompted his suspension has been charged by state police with possessing credit cards stolen from a town of Henderson man.

Michele R. Bowens, 42, of 17987 County Route 76, was committed Thursday to the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building, Watertown, after being charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a felony. Adams Town Justice Donald B. Shaw ordered her held without bail.

Police allege that on Sept. 16 she possessed two credit cards stolen from John S. Dunk, Route 3. She awaits grand jury action on that matter.

She already is facing felony charges contained in a grand jury indictment handed up Oct. 3 alleging that twice on April 17 she completed a refund at an unidentified McDonald’s by signing fictitious names to receipts to obtain refunds of $28.06 and $28.27 to which she was not entitled. It further is alleged that she did the same thing the following day to obtain $31.93 unlawfully. She is charged in that case with three counts each of second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and petit larceny and a single count of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. She faces a potential prison sentence of up to three years if convicted of those charges.

While those charges were pending in October, Ms. Bowens filed a notice of claim against the county alleging that Mr. Neff used his county-issued cellphone to send her unwanted photos of a man’s genitals. A notice of claim is a necessary precursor to any lawsuit against a municipality. No suit has been filed, but her attorney, Charu Narang, Sackets Harbor, said Thursday that Ms. Bowens is still planning to pursue legal action and is awaiting the outcome of a state police investigation into Mr. Neff’s alleged actions.

Mr. Neff has been suspended with pay since Oct. 25 as police investigate an allegation that he violated a departmental policy by consorting with a known criminal.

Ms. Bowens is already a convicted felon, having been sentenced in December 2007 in County Court to 1 to 3 years in prison for fourth-degree grand larceny for her participation in a shoplifting ring that victimized Walmart.

She was released from prison in September 2008.

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