FORT COVINGTON — Town Justice Cheryl M. Wilbanks said Thursday she plans to resign from her position after she was charged by New York State Police with allegedly helping her grandson violate the terms of his probation.
Wilbanks, 75, was charged Wednesday with one count each of official misconduct and obstructing governmental administration, both class A misdemeanors. She was released on appearance tickets returnable in the town courts in Malone and Fort Covington, troopers said.
Wilbanks is accused of taking her grandson, Logan D. Lamb, out of state despite knowing he was not allowed to leave the state under the terms of his probation. “Wilbanks … was aware of Lamb’s conditions and willfully violated them,” state police Troop B Public Information Officer Jennifer Fleishman said in a news release.
Prior to taking him out of state, Wilbanks had posted bail for Lamb, who is facing felony charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and third-degree grand larceny in connection with an incident in which a man was discovered with a gunshot wound to the leg at a Westville residence. The victim, who has not been identified by troopers, was treated at the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone and later transferred to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.
Wilbanks said the circumstances of the case are not as nefarious as it may sound.
She said she had planned to take Lamb to the Conifer Park rehabilitation center in Glenville but could not get him into the facility until later this month. Another grandson was living in South Carolina, so Wilbanks said she and Lamb travelled there to see him before Lamb went into rehab.
“That’s the extent of my being a bad criminal,” she said.
Wilbanks has served as Fort Covington Town Justice for nearly 16 years. She was first elected in 2004 and ran unopposed in the succeeding three elections. Her current term was set to expire at the end of this year.
“I think everybody thought I was fair and impartial,” Wilbanks said.
When talking about her time as town justice, Wilbanks noted that she had performed literally hundreds of marriage ceremonies.
“I’ve done everything I possible can to fulfill my job as justice,” she said. “This one time I screwed up.”