Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla’s criminal case was adjourned until next month, according to the Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office.
Chris Munzing, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, confirmed that on Feb. 5 Bonilla’s trial was adjourned until March 11. The town clerk faces criminal charges stemming from sexual harassment allegations that were investigated by town officials.
Bonilla, of Bellmore, was arrested on Sept. 21 by investigators from the district attorney’s office. Town Supervisor Kate Murray said complaints about sexual harassment by Bonilla were made to the town’s Human Resources Department last August. The town attorney’s office began its own investigation before turning the case over to Rice.
After his arrest, Bonilla returned to work on Sept. 25. To this day, he maintains his innocence and continues to perform his official duties as town clerk. The town clerk provides many licenses, permits and certificates to town residents and business owners, conducts marriages and is the town’s official record keeper.
Bonilla faces misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, second-degree coercion and attempted petit larceny. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Sept. 22. A second official misconduct charge was added to a revised complaint that was filed at First District Court on Sept. 27, according to Rice’s office.
The matter became criminal, Rice explained, when Bonilla “abused his position in an effort to discredit his accuser.” She said that Hempstead Town Attorney Joseph Ra told investigators that when Bonilla was interviewed, he allegedly asked whether a $10,000 payment to a female employee would make her allegations of sexual harassment against him “go away.” Rice said it was unclear whether he was suggesting that the complainant be offered town funds or if Bonilla was willing to make the payment himself.
According to the criminal complaint, Bonilla later tried to obtain personal photographs of the female employee from a male employee, 21-year-old Alex Desidoro. The complaint alleges that Bonilla told Desidoro he would be transferred out of the town clerk’s office if he did not comply with the request, but would be promoted if he did.
Bonilla’s first court appearance after his arraignment was on Oct. 26. Adrian L. DiLuzio, a Mineola-based criminal defense attorney, is representing Bonilla in court.