Town lawyer: Bonilla accuser was to transfer before complaint
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The woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla was set to transfer from his office before she lodged her grievance, said an attorney for the town Wednesday.
The testimony during Bonilla's misconduct trial ran counter to assertions Bonilla's attorney, Adrian DiLuzio of Mineola, made Tuesday, when he said the complainant was "calculated" and only filed the complaint to advance her career.
Wednesday, town attorney Susan Jacobs, who investigated the harassment charge, said the plaintiff was scheduled to be transferred to the water department -- and bumped from part-time to full-time work -- before she complained. The town expedited the moves when she complained, Jacobs testified.
The complainant "was concerned that she was having some problems with Mr. Bonilla," Jacobs said. "She expressed a desire not to go back to the office."
DiLuzio said after court adjourned Wednesday that he still thinks the "timing seems strange."
The complainant was named in open court, but Newsday is withholding her name because of the sexual nature of the allegations. She testified earlier this week that Bonilla repeatedly made advances and inappropriately touched her when they worked together.
DiLuzio said the accuser simply misunderstood Bonilla's intentions. "We're dealing with a guy who does something for one reason and she interprets it for another reason," DiLuzio said outside the courtroom.
Bonilla is charged with two counts of official misconduct, coercion and attempted petty larceny, stemming from accusations that he attempted to obtain intimate photographs of the complainant after she filed the harassment charge.
Bonilla faces up to a year in jail if convicted. He has refused to step down as town clerk but is not seeking re-election.
The complainant, a receptionist in the water department, was a clerical aide in the clerk's office when she filed her complaint in August 2012. Bonilla was charged the following month.
The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead at 10:30 a.m.Raymond Enright, an investigator with Hempstead who looked into the complaint against Bonilla, is scheduled to testify