A Nassau County judge dismissed a charge against a Rockville Centre police officer Wednesday after he was arrested in February for allegedly unlawfully videotaping a sexual encounter he had with a woman.
Christopher Stafford, 28, was arrested on Feb. 10 and charged with second-degree unlawful surveillance, according to police.
The unnamed victim became aware of the video, according to the felony complaint, when Stafford forwarded a photo from the video through Snapchat, news outlets reported. The complaint also reportedly said that the officer recorded the video “for his own amusement, entertainment and sexual arousal.”
But the Nassau County District Attorney’s office moved to dismiss the charge. “After an extensive investigation, it was determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for D.A. Madeline Singas.
“It was really the only choice available,” Stafford’s attorney, William Petrillo, said of the decision, noting that he turned over thousands of text messages to the D.A.’s office showing that the woman consented to the recording of the sexual encounter.
He added that the woman questioned whether she had given Stafford permission in a group text to her friends less than 24 hours after Stafford was arrested. “You could never proceed in a prosecution like that,” Petrillo said. “He was innocent.”
The two were romantically involved for about four months, according to Petrillo, and this claim was her reaction to the break-up.
Stafford was immediately suspended from the Rockville Centre Police Department without pay after he was arrested, village spokeswoman Julie Scully had told the Herald. He was later fired.
“During his period of probation with the Village Police Department, a decision was made to terminate Officer Stafford,” Scully said Wednesday. “We have no further comment on the matter.”
Petrillo told the Herald, “We will exhaust any and all legal remedies available to fight for his job back.”