A former Nassau police officer turned himself in to prosecutors Friday on charges that he spent at least 80 of his shifts with his mistresses rather than covering his beat, often telling supervisors he was on his way to crime scenes when he wasn't, and once waiting six minutes before leaving to help a man having a heart attack.
Michael Tedesco, 44, of Holbrook, was led into a Nassau courtroom in handcuffs as prosecutors unsealed a 109-count indictment against him. His wife, Sharon, sat solemnly behind him in the first row of the courtroom.
If he's convicted of the charges, including first-degree tampering with public records, first-degree falsifying business records and official misconduct, the father of two could serve up to 7 years in prison.
He pleaded not guilty in State Supreme Court in Mineola before Anthony Marano, Nassau's top administrative judge. The 18-year veteran of the force was released Friday afternoon after posting $5,000 bail and is due back in court Jan. 9.
"This is probably the most egregious example to date of a police officer who spent the majority of his time on tour taking care of his own personal business," said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
At a news conference after the arraignment, one of Tedesco's lawyers, Kevin Kearon of Garden City, said Tedesco did not violate the law.
"There's a big difference between allegations of disciplinary violations and criminal conduct," Kearon said. "Our position is no crimes were committed and we intend to defend that position."
Kearon added that Tedesco's wife "loves and supports her husband and will continue to support her husband throughout this process."
Prosecutors say Tedesco, who served in the Seventh Precinct, spent "hundreds of hours between June 2010 and February 2011 at two girlfriends' homes when he was on duty," and routinely lied about where he was and what he was doing. In addition to saying he had left on an emergency call when he hadn't, Tedesco would pretend that he was still working at the scene of an incident long after he had left, aiming to carve out more time for his exploits, prosecutors said.
When he was assigned to do strategic crime prevention work, relieving him from responding to routine calls, Tedesco took the opportunity to spend even more time with his girlfriends, prosecutors said.
His affair with his first mistress, who was not named, was still going on when he made up a noise complaint to get into the Massapequa home of the second woman, Tara Obenauer, a law enforcement source and Obenauer have said.
Obenauer, 42, has said Tedesco would usually visit her in uniform, even attending dinner parties while on duty. She said he sometimes removed his gun belt and left it unattended near her children.
A law enforcement source has also said that prosecutors investigated allegations that Tedesco spent time with another woman who would drive her van to visit him and other police officers at their assignments where she would have sexual encounters with them. However, the law enforcement source said investigators had doubts about the woman's credibility when she testified in the grand jury, and Tedesco is not charged with any crimes that relate to her.
Prosecutor Jed Painter said both of Tedesco's mistresses lived "a significant distance from Tedesco's patrol sector in the Seaford/Massapequa area," taking the officer far from where he was supposed to be when he was dispatched.
He said when Tedesco received a call, he would often go to his patrol car and report via touch screen that he was en route to a reported emergency. But rather than heading to the scene, he would go back into his mistress' home and continue his visit -- one time for more than a half-hour. This was especially dangerous since other police officers wouldn't be sent to the emergency because dispatchers believed that Tedesco was on his way, Painter said.
The Nassau Police Internal Affairs Unit first began investigating Tedesco after one of Obenauer's neighbors called police to complain that there was a police patrol car parked in her driveway for long periods of time. Police then checked Tedesco's GPS records and interviewed Obenauer, she said.
Obenauer has filed legal papers saying that she plans to sue Nassau County for $10 million for failing to supervise Tedesco by allowing him to visit her home during his shifts. Obenauer, reached by telephone Friday, declined to comment.
The papers say Obenauer has "suffered severe . . . emotional and psychological damages" and is "too scared to leave her house fearing that Tedesco or other officers may retaliate against her."
The papers, which also name Tedesco and the police department, claim other officers covered for Tedesco during the affair.
The claims against Tedesco were one of several high-profile misconduct allegations that buffeted the police department in 2012 alone, including the indictment of three former high-ranking supervisors, the demotion of a precinct boss for falsifying crime statistics and a ticket-writing slowdown by disgruntled officers.
With Robert Brodsky, Matthew Chayes, John Valenti and Joseph Mallia
After getting a radio call, Michael Tedesco would often go to his patrol car and enter a message into the computer saying that he was en route to the scene of the complaint, Nassau prosecutor Jed Painter said. But GPS records showed that Tedesco would often go back into the homes of his girlfriends for anywhere from six to 33 minutes. This list shows some of the dates, how long his response was delayed and the type of call.
JUNE 30, 2010
Caller let girl in house to use phone: 6 MINUTE DELAY
AUG. 8, 2011
Suspicious person in vehicle: 9 MINUTE DELAY
AUG. 25, 2011
Speeding vehicle: 33 MINUTE DELAY
AUG. 26, 2011
Alarm: 11 MINUTE DELAY
SEPT. 2, 2011
Loud noise complaint: 15 MINUTE DELAY
SEPT. 2, 2011
Auto accident: 6 MINUTE DELAY
SEPT. 3, 2011
Alarm: 18 MINUTE DELAY
SEPT. 10, 2011
Loud house party/underage drinking: 15 MINUTE DELAY
SEPT. 25, 2011
Domestic disturbance/mother-son: 8 MINUTE DELAY
NOV. 4, 2011
Possible cardiac: 6 MINUTE DELAY
NOV. 5, 2011
Youths causing disturbance: 15 MINUTE DELAY
NOV. 13, 2011
Suspicious person knocking on door: NON RESPONSE
NOV. 21, 2011
Youths causing disturbance: 19 MINUTE DELAY
DEC. 31, 2011
Alarm: 13 MINUTE DELAY