Former Guilderland police chief James R. Murley, who resigned amid allegations he regularly visited a casino while on duty, pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor official misconduct.
Murley admitted in Albany City Court that between February 2001 and August 2004 he went to the Turning Stone Casino dozens of times while he claimed he was on duty for the town. He also said that on three separate occasions he called in sick when he was actually at Turning Stone.
He was ordered to pay $13,500 in restitution to the town and undergo gambling counseling, which will be reported to the court. He was also fined $800 and ordered to pay a $200 state surcharge by Judge Kenneth Connolly.
His attorney, William J. Gray, said Murley will continue in the treatment program for his gambling addiction and will report to the court about treatment he receives. “When counselors feel the problem is resolved, we would indicate this to the court. We leave it up to the experts,” said Gray.
Murley, who had been town police chief for more than 30 years, retired May 1, 2007, after allegations arose of sexual harassment and trips to the casino during his working shifts. Town Supervisor Kenneth R. Runion requested in March 2007 that the district attorney and state police investigate complaints against Murley and turned over information to the district attorney.
In a written statement, Runion said Murley had a “long and professional career as police chief” during which he brought the town police force from a five-man, part-time police department to the professional, 35-member police department it is now.
“Unfortunately, the effects of a gambling addiction led to his pleading guilty to official misconduct today in Albany City Court,” said Runion. “This demonstrates the effects this illness can have on an admirable career.”
Heather Orth, spokeswoman for Albany County District Attorney David Soares, said prosecutors hope Murley gets the help he needs for his gambling problem.
In October 2008, Soares offered Murley a chance to plead guilty to charges of offering a false instrument for filing and defrauding the government.
At the time, he said if Murley didn’t accept the deal, he could be indicted by a grand jury.