Update at 1:35 p.m.: Connecticut State Police Spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said, in response to a question about potential criminal charges related to computer misuse: "Any criminal charges would be reviewed or discussed with the State’s Attorney Office."
Montville Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell met with Montville Mayor Ronald McDaniel this morning and McDaniel has confirmed he gave the police administrator a two-week, unpaid suspension.
The punishment comes months after the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad's investigation of Bunnell found the near 30-year police veteran illegally ran background checks on at least 38 occasions.
McDaniel said he had “no other comment” this morning save for confirming that he suspended Bunnell for two weeks.
In late September state police told McDaniel exactly what Bunnell can and cannot do when it comes to access to information from a state database he was found guilty of illegally accessing. That information has not been released. And McDaniel has declined to comment further.
But police sources say those prohibitions include access to police reports, police radios and the police computer database. State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance also declined to describe the specific sanctions other than to confirm they were turned over the McDaniel. But the mayor did tell Montville Patch he would be “incorporating what they gave me in deciding his disciplinary action.”
After a months-long investigation by the Eastern District Major Crimes Squad, investigators determined Bunnell had wrongly run criminal background checks on Montville residents on behalf of others, including town administrators. During and following the investigation, state police prohibited him from working around or accessing data from the system.
Toward the end of the investigation, Bunnell took compensatory time off, though he did work special police details that McDaniel said he was allowed to work, and then, after not receiving any discipline from McDaniel, went back to his regular job as second-in command of the town police department.
McDaniel said last month Bunnell was “being kept away” from the database and was only handling administrative tasks, including scheduling. But Montville Patch learned that Bunnell has been doing routine police patrol-type duty; he has performed traffic stops and issued tickets, which, McDaniel said, were “okay because (Bunnell) wouldn’t need to access” the criminal database or need any data from the database to do car stops.
On that claim there may be disagreement, but there is no debate on this: Bunnell, despite a statement to
A sexual harassment investigation
An 8-month long investigation in allegations Bunnell sexually an otherwise harassed Montville Police Officer Karen Moorhead found that myriad allegations “generally happened …but did not rise to the level of workplace harassment,” based on limited information from the report obtained by Montville Patch.
Moorehead filed the complaint against Bunnell in October of 2011. She alleged Bunnell subjected her to a “pattern and practice of continuous and overt harassment and disparate treatment.” In a memo and other documents obtained by Patch, Moorhead spells out incident after incident of “harassment, intimidation and sexual harassment.”
Moorehead has declined to comment on the case or the allegations.
Those charges include but are not limited to a Bunnell comment about Moorehead’s breasts, his statement she should “sign (a document) like a good girl,” and instances of “intimidation,” including one when he blocked her from leaving an room and repeated contact when he was cautioned not to have contact with her pending the resolution of the complaint.
And while the investigation found Bunnell’s behaviors toward Moorehead “entirely inappropriate,” it concluded nonetheless that his actions “did not rise to the level to support a claim of sexual or workplace harassment.”