Acquitted of three other charges as trial ends; faces sentencing on Sept. 26
Mark Bonilla, the Town Clerk of Hempstead
(Long Island, NY) Mark Bonilla, the Town Clerk of Hempstead, was convicted this week of official misconduct but acquitted of three other charges after his two-week long sexual harassment trial came to a close on Thursday.
Bonilla, 50, who opted for a bench trial as opposed to a trial by jury, was convicted by Judge Sharon Gianelli of one count of official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.
However, Bonilla was found not guilty of additional charges of petit larceny, coercion, and a second misconduct charge.
According to the original complaint filed that sparked the chain of events leading up to this week’s trials, on August 19, 2012 Bonilla tried to force Alex Desidoro, one of his employees in the Hempstead Clerks’ office, to provide “compromising photos” of a female fellow employee after she had made charges of sexual harassment against Bonilla.
The Town of Hempstead Attorney’s Office investigated the accusations against Bonilla, and once they turned their findings into the district attorney’s office, the Town Clerk was charged with three misdemeanors and placed under arrest by detectives.
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and other officials initially called Bonilla to submit his resignation and step down upon the event of his arrest; however, the Town Clerk refused to do so, continuing to go to work pending the start of his trial. With his conviction this week, Murray has renewed her demands that Bonilla resign from his post.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice condemned Bonilla in a statement released by her office.
“Mark Bonilla created a toxic work environment with his personal conduct and then tried to smear a young woman who rebuffed his unwanted sexual advances,” she said. “Voters rightly expect elected officials to do their jobs with professionalism and common decency, and my office will continue to hold accountable those who violate the public trust.”
Bonilla faces sentencing on Sept. 26, where he can receive up to one year in prison.
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