Northern New York Newspapers
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Fri., Oct. 9
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Ex-con who accused retired Undersheriff Neff of sexual harassment is returned to prison


An ex-convict who made allegations of sexual harassment against now-retired Jefferson County Undersheriff Andrew R. Neff was returned to prison Monday for two new criminal convictions in County Court.

Michele R. Bowens, 42, whose last address was 17987 County Route 76, Adams Center, was sentenced to concurrent 1-to-3-year prison terms for Jan. 25 convictions of second-degree attempted forgery and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

She admitted that on April 17, with another woman, she tried to falsely file complaints at a McDonald’s restaurant to obtain refunds to which she was not entitled. A grand jury indictment handed up Oct. 3 alleged 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. It further was alleged that she did the same thing the following day to obtain $31.93 unlawfully.

She also admitted that on Nov. 7, she possessed a credit card that had been stolen from John S. Dunk, Route 3, Henderson. Ms. Bowens was sentenced as a second-felony offender, 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 targeted Walmart. She was released from prison in September 2008.

She maintains that after her release from prison, she worked as an informant for the Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force, of which Mr. Neff was a member. She claims that she became involved in a relationship with Mr. Neff, despite Sheriff’s Department policy forbidding its members to consort with known criminals.

The relationship ended, but Ms. Bowens claims that after the latest indictment against her became public in October, Mr. Neff contacted her and offered to intervene on her behalf with the district attorney’s office in exchange for sexual favors.

She also alleges that Mr. Neff sent her unwanted photos of a man’s penis using his county-issued phone. Ms. Bowens has filed a notice of claim, a necessary precursor to any lawsuit against a municipality, with the county, but no suit has been filed.

Mr. Neff retired Feb. 8, but remains under investigation by state police for his alleged conduct involving Ms. Bowens.

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