A complaint alleging that the Berlin Police Department and Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald mishandled a child sex predator investigation has been dropped after commissioners found no evidence of mishandling.
The Berlin Police Commission has voted unanimously to drop allegations against Fitzgerald following a complaint from local resident Michael Rogan, who in a letter to the commission stated that the department did not make an arrest in a timely manner and could have been leaving his daughter, 8, and other children at risk.
“Based on our discussion and the questioning of the witness, we find that the allegations submitted by Mr. Rogan against Chief Fitzgerald are baseless,” said Joseph Annunziata, Police Commission chairman. "The matter is now closed."
The case stems from an investigation into a July 17 complaint that 29-year-old Wallingford resident Charles P. Ofori had contacted Rogan's daughter requesting explicit pictures, even after it was made clear she was just eight.
The department was able to retrieve the cell phone, according to a press release from police, and contact the individual identifying him as Ofori. A warrant was applied for but due to clarification needed in court documents, it took more than a month before an arrest was made.
Rogan claimed that Fitzgerald, Lt. James Gosselin and Sgt. Christopher Tralli pressured a detective to “alter” his initial police report by adding a supplement that states “DCF was not notified at this time" to clarify, causing the delay, according to a report from the Berlin Citizen.
But interviews with five officers found nothing out of the ordinary, according to members of the commission, leading to the allegations being dropped.
“He’s been upset with the police department and possibly myself directly ever since,” Fitzgerald told the Berlin Citizen. “With Mr. Rogan threatening a lawsuit, I really don’t want to get into a contest of my statements versus his statements. I have no animosity towards the man. He feels that there is, so and I can’t change his mind.”
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