WATERLOO — A former Interlaken police officer who faced felony sex crime charges has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and been sentenced to probation.
Elisia Panipinto, 22, pleaded guilty Thursday in Seneca County Court to a misdemeanor count of forcible touching. She was sentenced by Judge Barry Porsch to six years of probation.
Panipinto was indicted by a county grand jury on felony charges of criminal sexual act and sexual abuse following what police called unrelated incidents last year, including having an alleged inappropriate relationship with a South Seneca student. In that case, she was charged with misdemeanor counts of official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child.
At the time, Sheriff Tim Luce said Panipinto — while she was a school resource officer in the South Seneca school district — cultivated a physical relationship with an eighth-grader.
Interlaken Police Chief Leon Anderson learned of the alleged misconduct and turned the investigation over to the sheriff’s office. Panipinto later resigned from the Interlaken department.
Just weeks later, Panipinto was charged with first-degree criminal sexual act — a class B felony — for an alleged incident in Varick, where Panipinto allegedly subjected a person to sexual contact while the person was unable to give consent.
Luce said the alleged victim was incapacitated by intoxication, but the incident was not related to the previous incident with the student and the alleged victim in the second case was not a minor.
In an email to the Times Friday, Assistant District Attorney Brooke Moore said the official misconduct charge was dismissed in Ovid Town Court. She said the DA’s office had no comment on why Panipinto was able to plead to a misdemeanor.