Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla was found guilty on Thursday of one count of official misconduct stemming from sexual harassment allegations that were investigated by town officials last year.
Bonilla, however, was found not guilty of a second count of official misconduct, petit larceny and coercion.
The town clerk now faces up to one year in jail.
Justice Sharon Gianelli issued her verdict on July 25 at 10 a.m. at First District Court in Hempstead. She decided the case alone because Bonilla waived his right to a jury trial. Adrian DiLuzio, his Mineola-based attorney, said they made this decision because he did not believe the public could give an elected official a fair trial.
Bonilla, 50, of Bellmore, was arrested last Sept. 21 by investigators from the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. According to Town Supervisor Kate Murray, complaints of sexual harassment by Bonilla were made to the town’s Human Resources Department last August. The town attorney’s office began its own investigation before turning the case over to District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Bonilla, the town clerk since 2003, faced misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, second-degree coercion and attempted petit larceny. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Sept. 22. He was convicted of the second official misconduct charge that was added to a revised complaint filed at First District Court on Sept. 27, according to the district attorney's office.
Gianelli said she found Bonilla guilty of the second official misconduct charge because text messages that he sent to a clerk's office employee to obtain intimate photographs of the woman who alleged he was harassing her were substantial evidence that he broke the law.