Schenectady police officer pleads guilty, will resign

City Police Officer Kyle Hunter, who was already facing termination over several allegations, headed

City Police Officer Kyle Hunter, who was already facing termination over several allegations, headed off that possibility Friday morning as he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and agreed to resign from the force.

Hunter appeared in Schenectady County Court before Judge Karen Drago and accepted the prosecution’s offer that included no jail time but required his resignation from the department.

Hunter pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal contempt, a misdemeanor. There will also be a full order of protection for the victim in place for three years. He also faces up to three years of probation.

The plea came after a similar offer was rejected in January.

Hunter’s attorney, Michael Horan said Friday that after a series of discussions, Hunter thought about the offer and decided to accept it.

Hunter admitted to sending text messages to his ex-girlfriend in May and June, violating an order of protection. Those text messages, Horan said, were returning text messages sent by the woman.

“He was charged with felonies, and while I think that would have been difficult for them to prove, on the other hand, he was charged with returning text messages. There are phone records and they would have been difficult to deal with.”

Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham responded, saying that was the first she had heard of the woman initiating the text messages. Tremante-Pelham said there is no evidence she did so.

“Regardless of the reason,” Tremante-Pelham said, “he contacted her and his order was to have no contact with her whatsoever. He violated that.”

Hunter’s resignation will be made official once the proper paperwork is drawn up. The deadline is March 15, but he is expected to resign sooner.

Drago ordered a quick end to Hunter’s time as a police officer.

As soon as the papers are ready, Drago told Hunter, “You need to get down there and sign those papers immediately. That is my order.”

City police officials said Friday they expected that to be complete by this coming week.

Hunter has been suspended with and without pay since his initial March 2009 arrest. Since then, he has been paid at least $40,000 to sit at home, city records show.

Hunter had been one of several officers facing termination for a variety of alleged offenses and one of three that faced automatic termination upon conviction. His termination case had yet to begin. It was expected to begin in the next round.

Hunter was accused in March 2009 of using his ex-girlfriend’s car without authorization. An order of protection was lodged. He was then accused of violating that order of protection and kicking in a door at the woman’s residence in April.

The charge related to the alleged original March incident was dropped in June after a prosecutor said the sole witness, Hunter’s ex-girlfriend, did not appear for the scheduled bench trial.

Hunter was indicted last summer on two felony counts of criminal contempt for allegedly violating orders of protection. He was accused of threatening her and pushing her.

The woman was not injured, one of several factors that made Friday’s disposition an appropriate one, Tremante-Pelham said. She also cited Hunter’s lack of criminal history.

In the initial, rejected plea offer, the sentence and resignation portions were the same. But Hunter would have pleaded guilty to only a single count of misdemeanor contempt.

Had he been convicted of either of the felonies, he would have automatically lost his job as a city police officer. But the other charges remained, resulting in last summer’s indictment and Friday’s plea.

Hunter is to be sentenced in April.

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