Burglary suspect Zachary Parker, center of NCPD scandal, in court
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The 20-year-old at the center of a conspiracy scandal that saw three former high-ranking Nassau County police officials indicted this week on misconduct charges was in court Friday -- facing burglary charges Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said those officials had tried to make disappear.
Zachary Parker, whose father, Gary, was a police department benefactor, appeared in County Court in Mineola with his attorney and his mother, but the case was adjourned until next Thursday.
Authorities said Parker stole $11,000 in electronic equipment from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore in May 2009.
On Thursday, officials said that, after the arrest, Gary Parker asked police to scuttle a probe into the incident and said he showered three high-ranking department members -- William Flanagan, second-deputy commissioner; John Hunter, deputy chief of patrol; and, Alan Sharpe, former commander of the Seventh Precinct Squad -- with gifts, tickets and meals, while also donating more than $100,000 to the Nassau County Police Department Foundation, where he served as a board member.
Zachary and Gary Parker were not named in the indictment unsealed Thursday. But a law enforcement source identified the father and son described in the indictment as Zachary Parker and his father, Gary Parker.
Zachary Parker had voluntarily surrendered last year and was arraigned on Oct. 7, after a grand jury indicted him on a third-degree burglary charge relating to the 2009 incident, prosecutors said. Those charges -- third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and third-degree possession of stolen property -- are pending.
Chased from the courtroom by a pack of reporters shouting questions at them, Zachary Parker and his mother repeatedly answered: "No comment."
His lawyer, Robert F. Schalk of Mineola, said of his client, who appeared before Judge John Kase wearing a suit: "He's just a 20-year-old kid who 2 1/2 years ago something occurred at his school and it was worked out with attorneys. Unfortunately, he's here now."
Schalk pledged to fight the case and described Parker as a college student who's turning his life around. He did not say where Parker attends school.
The indictment unsealed this week states that Sharpe planted false information in a case file, while Flanagan accepted hundreds of dollars in gift cards from Gary Parker, identified as a Manhattan accounting firm partner who is a "financial benefactor of the police."
The indictment also states that the case initially was handed over to Internal Affairs, because Zachary Parker was a civilian employee of the department, but said Hunter intervened and the case was returned to Sharpe's detective squad. Officials said it was Hunter who had been "instrumental" in Zachary Parker being hired as a civilian employee of the department's ambulance unit in July 2008.