NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island town official mired in allegations of sexual harassment and blackmail tried to illegally cover-up the case against him, according to the Nassau County District Attorney.
DA Kathleen Rice told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera, on Tuesday that Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla asked the town attorney if he could buy his accuser’s silence.
“When faced with allegations — as he was at that moment — by members of the town attorney’s office, his reaction was not one of denial,” Rice said. “He asked whether a $10,000 payment to the complainant would make the allegations against him ‘go away.'”
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera Reports
Rice said Bonilla was told “no,” and subsequently tried illegally to make the sexual harassment case go away himself through intimidation and threats.
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 clerk’s office….If his requests were complied with, he would promote (him) to full-time employment.”
“He committed the crimes of official misconduct, coercion and attempted petit larceny,” Rice said.
Despite repeated calls from officials, including Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, to resign, Bonilla has resisted doing so.
Bonilla, for his part, denied the allegations against him. On Monday his attorney said the calls for the town clerk to resign were “inappropriate.”
“Lots of people are accused of crimes and misconduct and turns out they did nothing whatsoever,” defense attorney Adrian DiLuzio said Monday.
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