BELLMORE, N.Y, (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island community is still reacting to the shocking arrest of a top official facing some tawdry accusations.
Mark Bonilla, the elected clerk of the Town of Hempstead, said he will not step down despite facing a barrage of sexual harassment allegations plus misdemeanor criminal charges.
Bonilla, rather, vowed he will fight to clear his name.
Bonilla’s image hangs all over Hempstead Town Hall, but it’s his mug shot and arrest that have town hall visitors talking.
“He should resign because sexual harassment is a very serious thing,” Hempstead resident Lionel Coriolan told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
Bonilla, who has served nine years, was a no-show at his town hall office on Monday.
A female worker, who accused Bonilla of sexual harassment, said the town clerk plotted to get compromising photos of her in an effort to silence her. The alleged victim’s boyfriend said Bonilla demanded the photos.
According to the criminal complaint, Bonilla told the alleged victim’s boyfriend “if his request was not complied with…he would… transfer him out of the Town Clerks office….If his requests were complied with, he would promote (him) to full-time employment.”
Hempstead officials have asked Bonilla to step down, saying in addition to misconduct and attempted coercion charges, two other woman also accuse him of sexual harassment.
“The alleged conduct of the town clerk is disgusting and offensive. Officials have a responsibility to uphold the public’s trust. These credible allegations are a violation of that trust and I am calling upon him to immediately resign his position,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said.
Outside his Bellmore home, the married father of four asked for privacy. His attorney said he was blindsided by the allegations and has no intention of resigning.
“Lots of people are accused of crimes and misconduct and turns out they did nothing whatsoever. So I think it’s inappropriate to be asking for his resignation at this point,” defense attorney Adrian DiLuzio said.
Supporters think Bonilla is being thrown under the bus by political foes.
“He’s unbelievable…I think it’s a shame,” neighbor Nick Pascalli said.
His attorney said Bonilla had every intention of returning to work, but someone changed the locks on his office door — an act he called “juvenile” and “inappropriate.”
Hempstead Town officials said the office lock was changed to safeguard its contents and that the town clerk is free to come to work and get a new key.
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