Township Police Officer charged after trying to have a relatives DWI dismissed
ROCKAWAY TWP. – 34-year-old Clifton Gauthier of Sparta was charged with official misconduct and other crimes on Monday after he alleged tried to get a relative’s DWI ticket dismissed.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office charged him with official misconduct, obstruction, witness tampering and hindering prosecution of another. His record shows that Gauthier was hired in July 2005 in the township and was earning $108,525 annually. He was suspended after the incident. However, there is no information available to specify whether Gauthier was suspended with or without pay.
Both Gauthier and his defense lawyer could not be reached on Friday for questioning.
Police records show that Gauthier had a male relative identified as N.S. Gauthier who was ticketed for DWI in Rockaway Township by a state trooper on Feb. 9, 2012. When the trooper approached him upon his request, he suggested that he didn’t need to appear in township Municipal Court for trial because the charge was resolved.
The municipal prosecutor at the time, Denis Driscoll, contacted the trooper whom N.S. Gauthier informed that he did not need to appear in court. An investigation was started in the matter.
According to the Township Mayor, Michael Dachisen, Gauthier is a good officer who served several military tours in Iraq. The relative whom he allegedly tried to assist was either a cousin or an uncle. That was the only information available on the matter.
Gauthier was suspended after the investigation and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court next week. Police Chief Walter Ardin Jr. could not be reached for comments.
Gauthier will receive initial discovery on the charges. According to the case files, Gauthier committed an unauthorized exercise of his position when he suggested to the trooper not to appear on the scheduled court date so he could try to help a relative obtain a dismissal of the charge.
Gauthier faces a serious offence of official misconduct, the most serious of which can be a second-degree crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison upon conviction. He may also face automatic forfeiture of his public job and future public employment.
News Source: www.DailyRecord.com