In the wake of the NY Times' article about the Governor's and State Police's possible interference in an abuse claim against an aide to Governor Paterson, state Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services and Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Denise O'Donnell turned in her resignation today. O'Donnell, who oversaw many agencies including the State Police, now says she was misled by about the alleged interference: Back in January, "I was assured by Superintendent Corbitt that the State Police were not involved."
State Police Superintendent Henry Corbitt admitted to the Times that a state trooper visited a Bronx woman who accused Paterson aide David Johnson of assaulting her in their apartment. Corbitt said the trooper didn't intimidate the woman and that he only gave the accuser "options," claiming that "such an inquiry was customary for the department if an episode involved a high-profile person, and that it was done in the 24 hours afterward." However, O'Donnell now said in a statement:
... In early January, following a breakfast meeting on another subject, State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt informed me that a senior Administration staff member had been involved in an incident months earlier where a Domestic Incident Report was filed. Superintendent Corbitt told me the staff member had an argument with his girlfriend, that a Domestic Incident Report had been filed, but that there was no arrest and that the matter was being handled as a local police matter by the New York Police Department.
My immediate concern was what role the State Police would take in the investigation and I was assured by Superintendent Corbitt that the State Police were not involved.
It was only last night when I learned from press reports the contrary details, including the involvement of the State Police.
O'Donnell said her resignation is due to this incident, adding, "The fact that the Governor and members of the State Police have acknowledged direct contact with a woman who had filed for an order of protection against a senior member of the Governor's staff is a very serious matter. These actions are unacceptable regardless of their intent."