Town of Hempstead clerk told to vacate office
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Although Bonilla was not charged with sexual harassment, Rice said the matter became criminal when Bonilla “abused his position in an effort to discredit his accuser.” She said that Ra told investigators that, when Bonilla was interviewed, he asked whether a $10,000 payment to a female employee would make her allegations of sexual harassment against him “go away.”
According to the criminal complaint, Bonilla later tried to obtain photographs of the female employee from 21-year-old Alex Desidoro. The complaint alleged that Bonilla first tried to obtain the pictures in late August. Justice Sharon Gianelli, who presided over Bonilla’s case, explained that he met with Desidoro and another aide, Derek Foder, on Sept. 12. According the complaint, this was when Bonilla told Desidoro that he would be transferred out of the town clerk’s office if he did not comply with the request, but would be promoted if he did.
Bonilla, the town clerk since 2003, faced misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, second-degree coercion and attempted petit larceny. While he was acquitted of the three charges, Gianelli convicted him of a second official misconduct charge, which was added to a revised complaint filed in First District Court on Sept. 27.
Gianelli, who decided the case alone because Bonilla waived his right to a jury trial, said in court last month that she found the clerk guilty of the second official misconduct charge because text messages he sent to Desidoro and Foder were substantial evidence that he broke the law. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 26.
A day after Bonilla’s arrest, Murray and other elected officials called on him to resign at a press conference at Town Hall. He returned to work shortly after his arrest. Murray thanked Cuomo for his “prompt attention to this matter."
"It is time for the town to move forward, and continue providing excellent services to the public without unnecessary distractions," the supervisor said.