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Police called to home of Cheektowaga councilman on prior domestic incident

Cheektowaga police were called to the home of four-term Councilman James P. Rogowski on a domestic incident one week prior to his arrest on Friday, a police official confirmed.

Police responded to a call from Rogowski's wife at 8:45 p.m. on Feb. 16, said Cheektowaga Assistant Chief James Speyer. Police said the call stemmed from an argument between Rogowski and his wife.

No criminal charges were filed as a result of the incident, Speyer confirmed.

But an Order of Protection was subsequently issued in Erie County Family Court against Rogowski.

Rogowski on Friday was charged with first-degree criminal contempt for violating that Order of Protection after he allegedly began chasing his wife in a vehicle as she drove her vehicle about 6 p.m. on Orchard Park Road, said West Seneca Police Lt. John R. Urbanski.

Rogowski, 45, also faces a second-degree menacing charge in connection with Friday's incident.

James Rogowski. (News file photo)

In a statement, the Family Justice Center, an advocacy group for victims of domestic abuse, explained why Rogowski is facing felony charges in this case.

“New York State Penal Law rightfully places a heavier penalty on (people) who not only continue to hurt their victim, but do so in direct violation of an Order of Protection. Mr. Rogowski is facing a felony because he not only (allegedly) menaced the victim and put her in fear of her safety, but did so knowing he had already been ordered by the court to stay away from her.”

The incident was reported to West Seneca Police, who requested that Cheektowaga Police retrieve Rogowski from Doino's Pizzeria Bar & Grille at 2709 Harlem Road, said multiple sources in town government.

Rogowski was attending a retirement party of a Cheektowaga police officer, said sources who also attended the party.

Rogowski spent the night in the West Seneca Jail, located at 1250 Union Road, said sources with knowledge of the situation.

Rogowski is employed as a teacher in the Lockport City School District.

Michelle T. Bradley, Lockport school superintendent, could not be reached to comment.

Rogowski was first elected to the Cheektowaga Town Board as a Democrat in 2005. He is the son of William P. Rogowski, who served on the Town Board for more than 20 years.

Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski declined to comment on Rogowski's arrest.

A work session of the Cheektowaga Town Board is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday. The regular meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

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