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Updated: 12/31/08 08:02 AM

Judge denies Warme release before trial

By Aaron Besecker

Even the testimony of his father, a retired cop, wasn’t enough to convince a federal judge on Tuesday to release a jailed Niagara Falls police officer while he awaits trial.

But arguments during a detention hearing in U. S. District Court in Buffalo revealed Ryan G. Warme, who has already been accused of drug, gun and sex crimes, could soon face another charge.

A grand jury will soon be asked to consider a charge of witness tampering against the 27- year-old, prosecutors said.

In arguments before U. S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott, defense attorney Joel L. Daniels challenged the credibility of prosecution witnesses, saying one of the women Warme is accused of attacking sent Warme a text message that may call into question whether she was victimized.

Daniels also asked the judge to release his client from custody and confine him to his parents’ Grand Island home.

But Assistant U. S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce challenged Warme’s credibility by introducing into evidence documents alleging Warme lied on a probation department form about being kicked out of a Reserve Officer Training Corps program, as well as about why he resigned from the Air Force Reserves.

Bruce argued that given the seriousness of the alleged crimes, the suspended cop, who he said has a history of alcohol abuse, was “a poster child for being detained.”

Warme, who wore turquoise prison garb in court, is accused of forcing two women to have sexual contact with him while he was in uniform and carrying his gun. Authorities also believe Warme trafficked in narcotics. He also is accused of making threats to witnesses in the case.

Following the 75-minute hearing and a 45-minute recess, Scott ordered Warme to remain in the custody of the U. S. Marshals Service.

In a ruling from the bench, Scott said there was reason to believe Warme poses a danger to the community and witnesses in the case.

Also on Tuesday, a new allegation emerged against Warme. Prosecutors said a new witness has testified before a grand jury Warme inappropriately touched her during a traffic stop.

Daniels told the judge Warme did have sexual contact with the women, but it was entirely consensual.

The only force Warme used was “when he had to take his hand and pull his zipper down,” Daniels said in court.

Daniels also said he spoke to one of the prosecution’s witnesses who told him she was upset after being questioned by federal agents. In court, Daniels said the witness told him that authorities told her she would get diseases if she continues to “hang around” with Warme, who they told her has sex with prostitutes.

Prosecutors argued the text messages from one of the victims to Warme were sent out of anger, not out of wanting to maintain contact with the officer.

Gordon Warme, Ryan’s 60-year-old father, spent about 15 minutes on the witness stand after being called by the defense. In cross-examination, prosecutors asked the elder Warme about letting his son borrow money and whether he remembers having a loud argument over money with his son on the porch of his home while a woman waited in the car.

Gordon Warme said he did let his son borrow money and his son always repaid him in a timely fashion, but that he didn’t believe such an argument ever happened.

Following a request from Daniels, Scott said he will ask the Marshals Service to do everything it can to move Warme, who is being held in Steuben County, to a closer facility.