Three recently retired top Nassau County police commanders are denying criminal allegations that they conspired to cover up the arrest of a teenager whose father donated money to a nonprofit police organization.
A grand jury indicted the three men on corruption charges following a Long Island Press expose last year on the Nassau County Police Foundation that uncovered the alleged cover-up of the teen’s alleged burglary of $3,000 worth of electronics at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore in 2009.
Second Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan—the department’s former third top cop—Deputy Chief Inspector John Hunter and Detective Sergeant Alan Sharpe all pleaded not guilty to official misconduct and conspiracy Thursday at Nassau County court after surrendering to Nassau prosecutors.
Flanagan, 54, of Islip, is facing the top felony charge of receiving reward for official misconduct. Sharpe, 54, of Huntington Station, was additionally charged with offering a false instrument for filing.
“I committed no criminal act here,” Flanagan told reporters. “I’m confident at trial I’ll be vindicated.”
Attorneys for Sharpe and Hunter, 59, of Oyster Bay, maintained their client’s innocence.
Read the story that sparked the investigation: Is The Nassau County Police Department Selling Preferential Treatment?
“This is a sad day for law enforcement in Nassau County,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. “These defendants violated their oath and the law when they prevented a suspect’s arrest and took investigative direction from the suspect’s father.”
Flanagan faces up to four years in prison, Sharpe faces up to two years and Hunter faces up to one year in jail, if convicted. Flanagan and Hunter retired Wednesday; Sharpe retired Jan. 5.
Zachary Parker, now 20, of Merrick—the son of police foundation associate Gary Parker—was arrested and charged with the burglary after the initial Press story and was later repeatedly arrested for drug possession.
The scandal comes as the police department is reeling from allegations of shoddy test work at its now-shuttered crime lab and recently appointed Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Dale has been pushing a controversial plan to close four of the department’s eight precincts.
County Executive Ed Mangano, who is reportedly out of town, released a statement through a spokeswoman.
“I anticipate that the District Attorney and judicial system will provide for a fair and impartial process for these three former employees,” the statement said.
A police spokeswoman declined to comment.
Former Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, co-founder of the nonprofit that aims to build a new police academy, retired from office the day after the Press’ initial March 31 story.