Zachary Parker, the son of a police benefactor whose burglary was allegedly covered up by three high-ranking Nassau County police officials, has admitted to charges stemming from the 2009 theft.
The 20-year-old Merrick man pleaded guilty at Nassau County court Friday to burglary and criminal possession of stolen property.
A grand jury indicted him on those charges after an investigation by the district attorney’s office found he broke into Bellmore’s John F. Kennedy High School and stole more than $3,000 worth of computer equipment.
Judge John Kase said Parker will be sentenced May 18 to five years’ probation, during which time he will not be allowed to drive. Parker was facing 2 to 7 years in prison for the break-in.
Parker was granted youthful offender status because he was a minor at the time of the incident, meaning his record will be sealed. He still faces two drug charges in Nassau—a felony drug charge and a misdemeanor marijuana charge.
The “judge has done what is right and fair under all of the circumstances,” Parker’s attorney, Marc Gann, said outside the courtroom after the hearing.
Parker declined to comment.
That story was the first installment of a five-part investigative series last year into the Nassau County police department and its dealings with the non-profit Nassau County Police Department Foundation, which has been raising funds to build a new police academy in a public-private partnership.
“He’s certainly distraught and upset,” Gann added, “that the distinguished careers of those three individuals were effected by his alleged conduct.”
The three police officials—Nassau County Police Second Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan, former Deputy Chief Inspector John Hunter and retired Detective Sergeant Al Sharpe—were indicted following the Press investigation last year.
[Part I: "Membership Has Its Privileges" Part II: "The NCPD Refuses to Show Us the Money" Part III: "What A Mess: New Revelations In Nassau County Police Crime Lab Scandal" Part IV: "Press Article Sparks Investigation, Arrest"Part V: "Cop Out: An Inside Look at the War Between the County and the Cops"]
All three retired shortly before the charges were announced and plead not guilty to official misconduct and conspiracy after they surrendered to prosecutors on March 1.
The indictment against the three men alleged that they took gifts from Parker’s father, a donor to the police foundation, after he allegedly asked them to squash the investigation into his son.
Neither Parker nor his son have been charged in connection with the alleged cover-up.
A source told the Press last week that its investigation is ongoing.