Mineola, NY – A judge dismissed all charges against a former police officer accused of secretly recording an off-duty sexual encounter because of new evidence that proves that the alleged victim asked him to record.
“What triggered the false complaint was a bad reaction to a breakup,” the officer’s attorney, William Petrillo, told Newsday.
Rockville Centre Village Police Officer Christopher Stafford, 28, was arrested for felony unlawful surveillance on Feb. 10, and lost his job five days later.
An unnamed 26-year-old woman had accused him of sending her a Snapchat photograph of herself taken from the video, according to court records.
He and the woman had been in a relationship for approximately four months, Newsday reported.
The allegations were lodged shortly after the officer broke up with her, Petrillo said.
Officer Stafford was approximately three weeks away from completing his 18-month probationary period with the department when he was fired over the arrest and allegations on Feb. 15.
Stafford maintained that the woman was well aware of the video, and presented “thousands” of text messages that showed her desire to record their sexual encounter.
“The text messages show that she was discussing, in detail, her desire to create the tape,” Petrillo told Newsday.
“It is very clear what happened here. This was a relationship that Mr. Stafford was ending and this was a knee-jerk reaction. This false complaint made by the complainant was a knee-jerk reaction to a breakup,” Petrillo told News 12 Long Island.
After investigating the additional information, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Signas’ office determined there was “insufficient evident,” and asked the court to toss the case out, Newsday reported.
Nassau County Court Judge Anthony Paradiso dismissed the charge against the former officer on Wednesday.
“This has been a nightmare for him,” Petrillo said after the hearing. “He’s known from day one that he’s innocent.”
Stafford now hopes to return to his position at the Rockville Centre Village Police Department.
“Any and all legal measures will be taken to get officer Stafford reinstated,” Petrillo said.
The woman who filed the false report will not be criminally charged, according to the district attorney’s office.