15 Sep 2014
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Bonilla: I Will Maintain My Innocence Forever

Bonilla was convicted of one count of official misconduct, but he claims he didn't commit the crime.

Bonilla: I Will Maintain My Innocence Forever
Former Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla plans to appeal his conviction, and he also maintains that he's innocent, he told Patch Thursday.

Bonilla  was  sentenced to 300 hours community service and a $1,000 fine after being convicted of one count of official misconduct in July.

"It’s been a very tough year for myself and my family in so many respects," Bonilla said. "In terms of how it ended up, I will maintain my innocence forever. I did not commit the crime that I was convicted of."

For the community service, Bonilla will volunteer at Nassau University Medical Center, where his specific responsibilities haven't been confirmed, he said. He's already gotten a physical, shots and went through a two-hour orientation to prepare for his assignment.

"I got into public office because I wanted to help people," Bonilla said. "With the court giving me community service, I don’t have a problem with that. In that respect, I’m okay with what I have to do."

Hempstead Town officials  called for Bonilla’s resignation after he was accused in September 2012 of threatening to transfer an employee unless he gave Bonilla personal photographs of a female employee who had accused Bonilla of sexual harassment.

After waiving his right to a jury trial, the 50-year-old town clerk  was convicted by Judge Sharon Gianelli of one count of official misconduct, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

He was then  removed from his post as Town Clerk. 

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that in August 2012, a 21-year-old female employee in Bonilla’s office filed a sexual harassment claim against Bonilla, claiming that he had groped her and made sexual advances toward her for two years.

Later that month, Rice said Bonilla met with a male employee who was in a relationship with the female employee who filed the claim against him. He asked the male employee to provide him with inappropriate photographs of his accuser.

After the male employee did not deliver the pictures by early September, Rice said Bonilla threatened to transfer him out of his department, but also promised the employee a transfer to full-time status if he was able to deliver the photos.

The case was referred to the DA’s Office by Town of Hempstead officials and Bonilla was arrested on Sept. 21, 2012 as a result of the investigation.

"I really want to put this behind me, move forward and get on with my life," Bonilla added.

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