Former Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, of Bellmore, was sentenced Monday to 300 hours community service and a $1,000 fine after being convicted of one count of official misconduct.
Hempstead Town officials called for Bonilla’s resignation after he was accused in September 2012 of threatening to transfer an employee unless he gave Bonilla personal photographs of a female employee who had accused Bonilla of sexual harassment.
After waiving his right to a jury trial, the 50-year-old town clerk was convicted by Judge Sharon Gianelli of one count of official misconduct, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
He was then removed from his post as Town Clerk.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that in August 2012, a 21-year-old female employee in Bonilla’s office filed a sexual harassment claim against Bonilla, claiming that he had groped her and made sexual advances toward her for two years.
Later that month, Rice said Bonilla met with a male employee who was in a relationship with the female employee who filed the claim against him. He asked the male employee to provide him with inappropriate photographs of his accuser.
After the male employee did not deliver the pictures by early September, Rice said Bonilla threatened to transfer him out of his department, but also promised the employee a transfer to full-time status if he was able to deliver the photos.
The case was referred to the DA’s Office by Town of Hempstead officials and Bonilla was arrested on Sept. 21, 2012 as a result of the investigation.
“Mark Bonilla created a toxic work environment with his personal conduct and then tried to smear a young woman who rebuffed his unwanted sexual advances,” Rice said. "Voters rightly expect elected officials to do their jobs with professionalism and common decency, and my office will continue to hold accountable those who violate the public trust.”
Rice recommended that Bonilla get the maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Bonilla told Patch he will call back within the next day or so to give a formal statement.
"I just want to be with my family right now," he said.
This is a breaking news story, and Patch will provide more information as it's made available.