Ghent man accused of sexually abusing two-year-old boy


GHENT–Brandon K. Varian, 18, of Ghent was charged with one count of first degree criminal sexual act, a class B felony, July 1 at 8:13 p.m. according to Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.

Sheriff’s Office Investigator Mark Dunspaugh made the arrest.

Mr. Varian is accused of sexually abusing a two-year-old boy while taking a shower with him June 28 at the child’s residence in Ghent.


Mr. Varian had been dating the child’s mother for the past few months and was babysitting for the child at the time of the incident. The child’s mother was at work.

The victim’s mother took the child to the hospital at the urging of a family member for what they thought was a rash that didn’t appear to be normal.

The child was examined by the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and physicians at Columbia Memorial Hospital. Sheriff’s investigators were then contacted, along with the Columbia County Department of Social Services Child Protective Unit, which is also participating in the investigation.

Mr. Varian made admissions to investigators during the course of the investigation, the sheriff said in a press release.

Deputy Sheriff Joshua Oakes, Senior Investigator Kevin Skype and Investigator Dunspaugh initiated and conducted the investigation.  Arraigned in Ghent Court before Justice Mark Portin, Mr. Varian was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. He will return to town court at a later date. He is currently on probation in Rensselaer County, according to the release.

Sheriff Harrison asks anyone with information about Mr. Varian to contact investigators at (518) 828-4316.


A sheriff’s deputy and a driver were hurt in an automobile accident at the intersection of Route 23 and County Route 7, July 6 at 6:01 p.m.

Deputy Marcus Hickey, 25, was on routine patrol in a marked Sheriff’s Dodge Durango patrol vehicle traveling east on State Route 23.  At the County Route 7 intersection, a 1995 Chevrolet driven by Jennifer Lane, 38, of Craryville, pulled out from County Route 7 onto Route 23 and struck the patrol vehicle.

The Community Rescue Squad took Deputy Hickey to Columbia Memorial Hospital for treatment of back pain. The squad also took Ms. Lane to CMH for treatment of neck pain and arm injuries. Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts and there were no passengers in either vehicle.

Witnesses to the accident said that the deputy was traveling at a normal speed and attempted to avoid the collision, according to a press release from Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.  Sheriff’s Office Captain David Bartlett issued Ms. Lane tickets for failure to yield after stopping at a stop sign and third degree aggravated unlicensed operation, because her license was suspended. She will appear in Copake Court at a later date.

In addition to the rescue squad, the Sheriff’s Incident Scene Investigation Unit, criminal investigation branch and Craryville firefighters were on the scene.


A 16-year-old resident of the Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth in Canaan, not identified by police, was charged with third degree criminal mischief, a felony; fourth degree criminal mischief and second degree harassment by Trooper Dillard Waring, July 2.

The youth allegedly broke a flat screen television in the common room of a residential cottage, causing over $500 worth of damage. In a separate incident, the teen allegedly broke a window out of the cottage and struck a Berkshire Farm staff member, who came to see what was going on. The boy was arraigned in Canaan Court and was jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail. He will return to court at a later date.


Nicholas Quinn, 20, of  Wingdale was charged with unlawfully fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, speeding and unlawful possession of marijuana by Livingston State Police July 2 at 9 p.m.

Troopers were checking for speeders using radar on the Taconic State Parkway in Ghent when they saw a northbound motorcycle traveling at 85 mph in a 55-mph zone. Troopers attempted to stop the motorcyclist but he allegedly failed to comply, and a pursuit was initiated. Police say the motorcycle’s speed exceeded 100 mph at times. The pursuit was terminated in the area of Route 203.

With the assistance of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the motorcycle and its operator were found a short time later in the parking lot behind a local bank on Route 66 in Chatham Village.

Mr. Quinn was arraigned in Austerlitz Court and sent to the county jail in lieu of $500 cash bail or $1,000 bail bond.

To contact Diane Valden email

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