A former Nassau County police officer pleaded not guilty Friday to a 109-count indictment accusing him of having sexual encounters with women when he should have been responding to emergency calls while on duty.
Michael Tedesco, 44, who retired from the Nassau County Police Department earlier this year, was released on $5,000 bail following his arraignment before State Supreme Court Justice Anthony Marano.
District Attorney Kathleen Rice said at a press conference that Tedesco, who is married, is accused of visiting two women on separate occasions multiple times when he was supposed to be on patrol. The encounters, which overlapped, took place between June 2012 and February 2012.
Rice said police Internal Affairs detectives launched an investigation after neighbors reported to police that Tedesco’s patrol car was seen parked in the driveway of one of the women’s homes for hours at a time. He was assigned to a precinct in southeast Nassau County, but would often drive many miles away from his assigned post within the precinct to engage in the sexual trysts, Rice said.
The prosecutor said Tedesco “endangered the public with his selfishness,” by sometimes reporting to supervisors that he was en route to calls when he instead lingered at the women’s homes for as long as a half-hour before responding.
“This wasn’t an officer who just took a long meal break __ he charged the taxpayers for hundreds of hours that he wasn’t working,” Rice said. “He was late to calls, and lied about his whereabouts. His crimes could have cost people their lives.”
Rice said prosecutors would seek to have the county reimbursed for the time Tedesco was claiming to be on duty while engaging in the alleged sexual encounters.
The calls included domestic disturbances, a cardiac arrest and other assignments, Rice said; she said the delay in responding to the cardiac arrest did not result in the person’s death.
A spokeswoman for the Nassau County Police said the department was not commenting on the arrest.
The charges include 80 misdemeanor counts of official misconduct, 25 felony counts of falsifying business records and four felony counts of tampering business records. Prosecutors said they used GPS records of Tedesco’s patrol car’s whereabouts in filing the indictment.
“Our position is no crimes were committed,” defense attorney Kevin Kearon told reporters after the arraignment. He said if anything, his client should have been subjected to departmental disciplinary sanctions, but not arrest. He noted that Tedesco, who has been under investigation for several months, surrendered voluntarily to prosecutors on Friday morning.
Tedesco retired in April after 18 years on the force; he earned $182,000 in 2011, according to prosecutors.
If convicted, he faces seven years in prison.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.