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Charge dropped against Rockville Centre police officer, attorney says

Christopher Stafford of East Meadow was cleared, his

Christopher Stafford of East Meadow was cleared, his defense attorney said. Credit: NCPD

A judge dismissed an unlawful surveillance charge against a Rockville Centre Village police officer on Wednesday after he turned over evidence that the woman who lodged the complaint was aware he videotaped their sexual encounter, the officer’s attorney said.

Christopher Stafford, 28, of East Meadow, felt relieved after Nassau County Court Judge Anthony Paradiso in Mineola tossed the felony charge, said attorney William Petrillo of Garden City.

“This has been a nightmare for him,” Petrillo said. “He’s known from day one that he’s innocent.”

District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office asked the judge throw out the charge.

“After an extensive investigation, it was determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for Singas.

Stafford and the 26-year-old woman had dated for about four months, Petrillo said. He said the woman filed the complaint shortly after Stafford ended their relationship.

“What triggered the false complaint was a bad reaction to a breakup,” Petrillo said.

Stafford was arrested on Feb. 10, leading to his suspension without pay, court documents and a village official said at the time.

He was fired on Feb. 15, five days after his arrest, Petrillo and a Rockville Centre spokeswoman said Wednesday. Stafford was about three weeks away from completing his 18-month probation when he was let go, Petrillo said.

“Any and all legal measures will be taken to get officer Stafford reinstated,” he said.

Village spokeswoman Julie Scully did not have further comment.

The woman, whom prosecutors did not name, had accused Stafford of sending her a picture of herself from the videotape through the social media platform Snapchat on Feb. 9, according to court records.

Stafford, according to the criminal complaint, recorded the video “for his own amusement, entertainment and sexual arousal.”

After his arrest, Stafford turned over “thousands” of text messages, Petrillo said, that showed the woman wanted her sexual encounter with Stafford recorded.

“The text messages show that she was discussing, in detail, her desire to create the tape,” Petrillo said.

The woman who filed the complaint will not face criminal charges, Brosh said.

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