Man arrested twice last week for threatening women is free; Sheriff calls for stricter standards

More charges against man accused of threatening Fisher employee

More charges against man accused of threatening Fisher employee

The Monroe County sheriff says lawmakers need to do better after a man arrested twice in the last week for threatening women — one time with a knife — was released from custody.

“I’m sitting home comfortably this weekend, and I’m thinking about that lady that defended her own life, I’m thinking about the other stalking victims that tolerated this probably for years,” Sheriff Todd Baxter said.

Last Wednesday, police say 19-year-old Shalom Mathews, armed with a knife, intended to tie up an employee at St. John Fisher University and sexually abuse her. He posted bail.

Two days later came more charges, this time for stalking.

News10NBC spoke with law enforcement about the disturbing allegations and whether Mathews should be behind bars right now.

The latest charges relate to two women in Brighton. They say Mathews stalked them on social media, sending them sexually explicit messages from anonymous accounts, some dating back to 2021.

Mathews, a St. John Fisher freshman, allegedly threatened a school employee with a knife. For that, he faces two felony charges: attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual abuse. He posted $30,000 bail and was released — and Brighton Police arrested him two days later on the stalking charge. He was released again, only this time on his own recognizance.

Now, orders or protection have been issued for the victims.

Court paperwork details the latest stalking charges. One victim is a recent Brighton High School graduate, and another is a Brighton High School teacher. The online messages mention groping, undressing, and forcible touching.

In court paperwork, the victims say they want Mathews arrested, and that they are in fear for their lives.

“Even with the totality of that information, we still don’t have the ability to detain someone just long enough to make sure they’re stable, make sure there’s a security plan for the victims, long enough to make sure he and his family have resources to keep him under control so he doesn’t recommit another crime,” Sheriff Baxter said.

Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said: “This case was unique because it wasn’t just a one-time communication or even two-time, this was repeated course of conduct.”

The chief added, “I would tell anybody, you know, keep your social media accounts as private as you can. It’s very difficult, we live in a digital age, a lot of those settings are open to the public.”

News10NBC spoke Tuesday afternoon with Mathews’ attorney, who had no comment.

But police allege in court paperwork that Mathews admitted to sending the messages, before feeling guilty, and then doing it again once the guilt passed.

News10NBC has reached out to the governor’s office for comment on Baxter’s call for stricter standards. A spokesperson sent us these remarks made by the governor during an appearance in New York City Tuesday.

She said: “Last year, we gave judges more discretion. You all know the budget was one month late, because I held it up to make sure I could get the discretion back to judges that they no longer would simply use the least restrictive means when considering bail. That is history. That is not the law. It has come to my attention that there are still some judges applying that standard. So, we’re talking to the Office of Court Administration, enhancing education, saying, “No, the law has since changed, it has gone into effect and that would be having gone into effect since May of 2023.” So, I’m anticipating that we’ll see a change in results when you look one year from now, but these new laws have only been in place less than a year. So, I’m just saying to the judges, use the tools that we’ve now given you to protect New Yorkers.”

Mathews is due back in Brighton Town Court on March 11 and Pittsford Town Court on April 25.