A retired Nassau County police commander struck a plea deal in which he admitted to his role in helping cover up a burglary committed by a police benefactor’s son five years ago.
Ex-Det. Sgt. Alan Sharpe pleaded guilty Monday to official misconduct in exchange for a sentence of 150 hours of community service with the nonprofit EAC, two years of probation and a $1,000 fine. Charges of conspiracy and offering a false instrument for filing were dropped in exchange for his plea.
“I am truly sorry for an inappropriate action I took involving this case,” Sharpe, the former acting deputy commanding officer of the Seventh Squad, said with his hands folded in court after a jury was recently selected and before opening statements were scheduled to begin.
Sharpe’s Mineola-based attorney, Anthony Grandinette, and Assistant District Attorney Bernadette Ford outlined the plea deal to Judge Mark Cohen, who signed off on it and discharged the jury after thanking them for their service.
Prosecutors said Sharpe helped quash burglary charges in 2009 against Zachary Parker, who was then an intern with the police ambulance bureau, by returning thousands of dollars worth of electronics Parker stole from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore.
“Alan Sharpe did not personally benefit in a material way,” Ford told the court, referring to gifts received by Sharpe’s co-defendants, ex-Second Deputy Nassau Police Commissioner William Flanagan and former Deputy Chief of Patrol John Hunter.
Parker’s father, who was identified in court as an unindicted co-conspirator, had given gifts to Flanagan and Hunter after asking them for help in getting the charges against Zachary dropped.
Flanagan was convicted of misdemeanor misconduct and conspiracy charges last year but a jury acquitted him of felony receiving reward for misconduct. Cohen sentenced Flanagan to 60 days in jail, but execution of that sentence was stayed while his attorneys appeal the verdict.
Hunter pleaded guilty to misconduct and conspiracy last year. He was sentenced to probation and community service.
Parker later pleaded guilty to burglary and drug charges. He was released from a prison boot camp last summer, where he was sentenced after violating the terms of his probation.
“Your actions not only reflect poorly on yourself, but also the department,” Cohen told Sharpe after he changed his plea. “Your degree of culpability is less, but it is nonetheless there.”
Sharpe declined to comment to reporters as he left the courtroom.
“Absolutely nothing that happened today changes the fact that Alan Sharpe is a great husband, father, and proud retired police officer who dedicated 27 years of honorable service to the residents of Nassau County,” Grandinette said in an emailed statement.
“After the third and final conviction in this case, our prosecution has shown once again that there shouldn’t be one set of rules for public officials and another set of rules for everyone else,” District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a news release. “These defendants betrayed the public and the hard-working members of the Nassau County Police Department who put their lives on the line every day and we’re grateful for today’s sentence.”