NAUGATUCK — A borough police officer facing felony charges in Meriden Superior Court has tendered his resignation, effective last Friday.
Forty-year-old David Reilly, a 13-year veteran of the police force, was charged in December with first-degree larceny by extortion, third-degree computer crime and coercion.
The charges stem from allegations that Reilly, under the chat-room moniker “Jailtime96,” engaged a middle-aged Wallingford woman in explicit internet chat then used those conversations to extort as much as $60,000 from her over a period spanning several years.
Wallingford police arrested Reilly after he used a police computer to obtain the woman’s personal information, drove to her home in a borough police cruiser and tried to collect money from her, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
He pleaded not guilty to all three charges and was released from custody after posting a $25,000 bond. He will appear again in court March 8.
Reilly claims he resigned due to a disability and will seek a “service connected disability retirement from the Borough of Naugatuck,” according to a press release issued by Naugatuck Police Chief Christopher Edson.
The release also indicates the borough has no documentation in support of a disability claim.
Mayor Bob Mezzo said the borough would fight the claim but might not have much leverage against the collective bargaining agreement.
“The alleged incident is embarrassing to Naugatuck, and we will fight to ensure that the resignation does not have an impact on taxpayers,” he said.
But if an independent medical review of Reilly’s claim confirms its legitimacy, the borough may be powerless to prevent Reilly from securing a borough pension.
“A [contractually-obligated] pension becomes a particular property right,” Mezzo said. “Unless there’s language in the agreement saying, ‘You lose that interest because of some conduct, misconduct or admission,’ you can’t unilaterally take away that right. … That’s almost like going back and saying, ‘You have to give back the pay we paid you for being an employee.’”
Mezzo said he spoke with the borough’s attorney, who told him such language doesn’t exist in the police union contract.
“I seriously doubt a union member would agree to [a contract with such a stipulation],” he added.