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Update: Montville Police Lt. Suspended, State Police Spokesman Addresses Charges

Longtime officer Leonard Bunnell handed 2 week suspension months after state police investigation. State police spokesman says criminal charges would come from state's attorney.

 

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."

Original story:

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.”

MTV Citizen October 04, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Is it only me or is this another blatant example of favoritism? Thomas McNally gets fired, the head of the Montville Police gets a two week suspension for committing crimes! Are you kidding me? I bet if Officer Moorehead did the same thing she would have been fired.... Welcome to Montville, the good ole boy town.
Linda October 04, 2012 at 03:45 PM
You have to be kidding. The mayor fired the wpca guy who had no prior discipline and was brought up on bogus charges and only suspends Bunnell who was found guilty on 38 charges and sexual assault. I hope the wpca guy gets a lot if money from his lawsuit.
Karen Jones October 04, 2012 at 03:49 PM
What a joke. It's time to fire the mayor. I'm moving out of this town.
jane October 04, 2012 at 04:11 PM
This just disgusts me. What does Brunnell have on the Mayor? Just on the workplace harrassment alone he should have been let go. And before you all jump on me, put your daughter in the same situation and think about it - her boss talking about her breasts, blocking her way so she can't leave a room and no one around to help her. Who knows, maybe Brunnell found porn on the mayors computer.
Chris Lawton October 04, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Violates the Law, Misuses our Trust, and only a slap on the wrist. That is about a 30 minute loss of wage for each infraction. He is not allowed to do backgrounds checks, according to reports I have read. Therefor he can not effectively do all duties an Officer should be doing. Why keep him on the pay roll?
Keeping it Real October 04, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Well everybody wanted some kind of punishment given, the Mayor gave it, and we are still unhappy with the results. We all know if it as another employee that did this crime they would have been terminated. My question is if this crime was committed and evidence that it was committed, why has the State police did not arrested and charged him of this crime or that States Attorneys office pursued charges of this. Maybe the patch could find out these answers. Lt Vance said it was up to the Town to give out the punishment but if the crime was against the state, why not arrest? we all know the Mayors office will cover this up for as long as it can and not give out any information on this as always. Maybe channel 3 or 8 investigative reporters could help get the truth along with the patch. As far as the everybody that is upset with the Mayor should go to the council meeting and tell him what a great job he and they are doing. Or start a petition asking them to resign and turn it in. But at least Montville can be proud to have a Felon running its Police Dept. Sorry he was never charged so that makes it all better. Good luck in Montville.
Jon October 04, 2012 at 05:10 PM
How can the mayor sleep at night knowing he ruined a persons life by firing the wpca guy and then do nothing to a convicted sexual harasser and computer crime Bunnell? What a disgrace to the position of mayor. Malloy was voted least liked governor well Mcdainel you have my vote for least liked mayor in montville history.
nathaniel09 October 04, 2012 at 05:16 PM
2 weeks that's it!!!!! I think its time to start getting mcdaniel out of office, another 3 years of the good old boy system will make the town go down the tubes. Come on someone start the petition!!! Ill sign. Who's with me?
Linda October 04, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Nathaniel, if it were as simple as a petition the mayor would have been gone months ago. The only way to get him out is from the town council and they are all but 2 of them corrupt democrats just like the mayor
KenD October 04, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Its the good old boy network. I will sign it.
Jill J. October 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM
When Bunnell comes back from his suspension he should arrest the mayor and wpca administror for all the corruption they are involved with. That would show Bunnell is not in the mayors pocket
Mike H. October 04, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Get me a copy of the petition to throw the mayor out I know all my friends, family and neighbors will sign it. He should be a man and just. Quit!
J. Lincoln October 04, 2012 at 06:31 PM
It is my humble opinion that there is so much inconsistency with how McDaniel handles things that it is incredulous. 1. The Mayor should immediately release the State investigation on Bunnell. 2. The names of all those who were investigated should be released since their rights may have been violated. Hiding them from us is reaffirmation of wrong doing, possibly by other town employees or elected officials. What is the problem? The Day and Patch and maybe others have filed FOI complaints. 3. We fired a town employee and in my opinion violated his 1st amendment rights, and in the opinion of many town residents, may have been done so based on untruthful and manufactured facts. 4. All this comes at a time when Connecticut morns the loss of one its most courageous jurists, US District Court Judge Mark Kravitz. Judge Kravitz was very much instrumental in the success of our State Freedom Of Information Commission, Which State Officials and Politicians continuously try to circumnavigate.
Mike H. October 04, 2012 at 06:48 PM
The mayor can try to keep the truth from being released but in time and maybe after many more lawsuits it will be revealed and when it is we will all see how poorly a mayor he is. As far as a person he is a nice guy but don't let that fool you, he's a thief, lier and cheater and some day will have to answer to his maker for his poor choices
shannon October 04, 2012 at 07:18 PM
So sad 1 week for sexual harassment and another week for illegal use of the computer data base. If that don't sound like the good old boy system what does?
Kieth H. October 04, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Since the mayor can't do his job lets see if the state police will clean up the mess and arrest the lieutenant like they have for other cops who illegally used the computer system.
Waterford Man October 04, 2012 at 10:48 PM
How do the citizens of montville put up with the mayor and his democratic croneys on the council? Every town has issues but I have never seen as many as montville. You could right a book about it
Jim Sullivan October 04, 2012 at 11:23 PM
It seems that a dedicated police lieutenant has made some inappropriate decisions, for which he has been disciplined. This lieutenant has also paid a heavy price by being examined by the media and judged openly by Montville's citizens. Residents should not forget his years of excellent service and base their entire judgement of his competency on these limited issues. The lieutenant should be allowed to accept his discipline, adjust his conduct accordingly, and continue to lead the Montville PD. Ruining a man's life and reputation just because he is a police supervisor who made some poor decisions is foolish and petty. Do the citizens really want to lose someone this valuable to the community? Let it go, it's done.
Waterford Man October 04, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Jim get real the guy knew he did something wrong not once but 38 times. Then he also harassed a subordinate and at no time did he every show remorse for what he did. Additionally the same mayor destroyed an upcoming department head at the wpca that had 12 years of service, was well like and did a great job all because of politics. I have no sympathy for Bunnell or the mayor
Fake Mr. Fuji October 05, 2012 at 12:52 AM
When did Mike Daniels become mayor?
Debbie October 05, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Tom McNally has really had an unfavorable outcome compared to Bunnell. There are alot of positive comments and feedback on Tom . Yes he is my brother so I know personally what a good hearted person he is and how dedicated he is to everything he does without asking for anything in return. I hope his lawyer reads all the bs on the Montville Patch.
Jim October 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Such a scam. The mayor can try to hide the report all he wants but it will get released soon and when it does let the games begin or should I Say let the law suits start.
Jim Sullivan October 06, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Waterford Man, Sorry, I don't agree with your assertions, but wouldn't tell you to "get real". The assumption you make regarding the lieutenant "knowing" he did "wrong" is questionable in light of the reported reasons for accessing the database. If he was following a directive from the town administrator, perhaps he felt it was not "wrong". As far as harassment claims, one would, in this day and age, always suspect such claims and recall that he is presumed innocent. I prefer to look at this situation with open eyes and do not presume that an investigation by the CSP should be the final arbiter of whether his conduct was appropriate or not. Emotional responses seem to have directed the reaction of the small part of the community represented on this blog/comment section.
Chris Lawton October 07, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Jim, If he didnt know what he was doing, then he is incompetent, if he did know his actions were in violation. "the user agree to comply with all regulations, rules, policys and procedures as outlined in the NCIC operating manual and part 10 U.S. DOJ CCH Regulations, the regulations of the policy board and Title 28 CFR Part 20" http://www.ct.gov/dcf/lib/dcf/mou/moa_151_collect_system_user_agreement_-_dps.pdf A Norwich officer received a 90 day suspension in 2010 http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/x1162998318/Police-chief-Norwich-officer-misused-database#axzz28U8lDhL7

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