Judge: Hempstead clerk ‘guilty’ of misconduct

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“My sentiment is people were out to get him,” he said. “That's what I think motivated it.”

Bonilla will be sentenced on Sept. 26, the judge said. Gianelli noted that the trial was not a determination of whether Bonilla sexually harassed anyone, although allegations of harassment were a catalyst for the case.

The allegations

There were three specific allegations of harassment made against Bonilla, Rice said. However, she added, they did not involve physical abuse, but rather inappropriate conduct that created a hostile work environment. The claims are a civil and administrative matter to be handled by town officials, but Rice said they do not appear to be criminal.

“Sexual harassment is always wrong, but often it is not a criminal matter,” she said. “Here, however, Mark Bonilla tried to use his public office to shield himself from accountability, and that is why he was arrested.”

A day after Bonilla’s arrest, Murray and other elected officials called on him to resign. Five other town board members, the receiver of taxes and the town attorney joined Murray at a Sept. 22 press conference at Town Hall.

“Protecting our staff from a hostile work environment is a responsibility that I and all my colleagues take very seriously,” Murray said in September. “I will ensure that employees in the clerk’s office have a work environment that is safe and free of intimidation and inappropriate behavior.”

Town of Hempstead officials could not be reached for comment.

Bonilla would have been up for reelection in November. The Republican clerk, however, did not receive his party’s nomination. DiLuzio noted that he did not attend the nominating convention and did not expect to be nominated with his life being “completely on hold” because of the criminal case.

The town clerk provides many licenses, permits and certificates to town residents and business owners, conducts marriages and is the town’s official record keeper.

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