Grand jury dismisses one abuse charge stemming from Phoenicia sexual assault
By Jay Braman Jr.
An Ulster County Grand Jury has dismissed charges of second-degree unlawful imprisonment and third-degree sexual abuse against a Phoenicia man but indicted another man in the same incident.
The charges against John Oakley, 45, of Phoenicia were dismissed, according to a grand jury report from District Attorney Holley Carnright’s office.
Oakley had been charged along with, Desmond McCobb, 27, who was reported homeless. McCobb, who currently resides in the Ulster County Jail, allegedly kidnapped a woman during a domestic dispute at Silver Hollow Cabins on Route 214 in Phoenicia in July. He has been charged with second-degree assault, first-degree aggravated sexual abuse and first-degree criminal contempt.
McCobb was indicted on August 19.
The grand jury dismissed charges against Oakley, who was arrested last month in connection with the kidnapping and assault of the 20-year-old woman. The grand jury dismissed charges of second-degree unlawful imprisonment and third-degree sexual abuse against Oakley. According to the report, Oakley was not present when the woman was discovered in a wooded area of Phoenicia July 12 after a two-hour search, but was charged after further investigation.
Following a two-hour manhunt, which involved dogs and a police helicopter, the two men were held in connection with a domestic dispute involving the woman, who police say was sexually assaulted and dragged into the woods.
Oakley, 45, was charged with unlawful imprisonment and sexual abuse, both felonies. McCobb was charged with kidnapping, assault, aggravated sexual abuse and criminal contempt, all felonies.
The incident unfolded at about 9 a.m. at the Silver Hollow Cabins on Route 214 in the small Shandaken hamlet of Chichester, police said, where the victim, who knew McCobb, was reportedly assaulted and forcefully dragged off into the woods after being thrown through a window.
Police said the victim had an order of protection against McCobb.
A search was conducted with police dog units and a state police helicopter. After a two-hour search, police found the victim and McCobb in a wooded area about a half-mile from the scene.