Sexual Abuse Charges Dropped

MAYVILLE – The Randolph school bus driver accused of inappropriate relations with a juvenile male last year had every sexual abuse charge against him dropped Wednesday, but pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child.

According to David Foley, Chautauqua County District Attorney, the seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse against 67-year-old John O. Hitchcock were dropped as a result of a plea agreement between the District Attorney’s Office and the juvenile’s family and attorney.

“I would like to thank my family and the Randolph community for supporting us during this time,” said Nicole Smallback, daughter of John Hitchcock, on Wednesday.

The agreement included Hitchcock pleading guilty to endangering the welfare of a child.

“The guilty plea ensured that the very young victim would be spared the trauma of testifying in court, and held the defendant accountable,” Foley said. “We had several meetings with the family on this case and we all agreed that this plea was in the best interest of the child.”

Hitchcock is expected to receive three years of probation for the charge, Foley said.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 14.

Hitchcock, who had been held in Chautauqua County Jail since his arrest on March 8, 2013, was accused of sexually abusing a 6-year-old male from September to October 2012 between Randolph and Ashville.

Hitchcock was picked up without incident on an arrest warrant after an indictment was received.

He pleaded innocent to the charges on March 11, 2013.

“Our assistant district attorneys worked closely with the victim’s family throughout the investigation of this difficult case and the ultimate resolution,” Foley said. “Cases with such young victims can be quite difficult, not only to prove, but also the impact they can have on these children. I am grateful for the communication and support of the victim’s family and hope that this plea allows them a sense of resolution.”

Hitchcock’s attorney, Ryan F. McCann, did not return calls from The Post-Journal on Wednesday afternoon.