Gloucester Police chief fired amid investigation of 'disturbing allegations'

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — Gloucester's chief of police has been fired amid allegations he interfered with an investigation, his attorney says.

Chief Leonard Campanello's attorney says the allegations are untrue and says it is a wrongful termination -- even calling it a witch hunt.

Campanello was placed on leave last month pending an investigation and his attorney said Monday he has been fired.

The city claims Campanello destroyed evidence in an ongoing investigation, according to his attorney.

"During this inquiry, I continuously reminded [the city] that they were violating his contract and I was told repeatedly they don't care about his contract," Campanello's attorney Terry Kennedy said.

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken addressed the chief's termination during a news conference Monday afternoon.

“I’m disappointed with Chief Campanello and these audits will continue,” Theken said.

A copy of the chief's termination letter given to FOX25 by Campanello's attorney lists the reasons he has been terminated as follows:

  1. You were untruthful at the employee interview of Sept. 23, 2016 when you stated that you had left your city-issued cell phone, master key and security fob in your office on Sept. 7, 2016.
  2. You were untruthful when  you denied knowing who sent your city-issued cell phone, master key and security fob to your attorney. 
  3. The security videotape taken at the post office, where the cell phone was mailed shows you mailing it. 
  4. You were untruthful at the interview when you stated that you had printed and produced to the city all of your text communications with [INDIVIDUAL] since April 2016. Your cell phone records show far more such communications than those you had produced. Thus it appears that you have either withheld or destroyed evidence relevant to the investigation being conducted by the city.
  5. You stated that you deleted the contents of your cell phone immediately after being put on administrative leave. You knew the purpose of the leave was to allow an investigation of your contacts with [INDIVIDUAL] to proceed and that the cell phone contained relevant evidence. Your destruction of such evidence interfered with the city's investigation. 

The very popular police chief has been praised nationally for his ANGEL program, which created a unique approach to helping drug addicts. It has been replicated across the country by other police departments.

Through his attorney, the chief thanked supporters of the program who have expressed concern for its future during this investigation.

According to Mayor Theken, a woman contacted her office with "disturbing allegations" against the police chief regarding their relationship.

A city attorney says the woman claims Campanello had been sending her text messages non-stop.

Mayor Theken said the woman was worried about her safety. She also said the woman provided text messages and emails exchanged between the two, which the mayor says don’t match up with what was provided by the police chief.

“Another woman expressed concerns about a relationship between the police chief and a third woman,” Mayor Theken said.

The mayor’s legal counsel says allegations have been made regarding relationships between the police chief and two women who may have been concerned about their safety.

The mayor's office said Chief Campanello was asked to turn over his cell phone, but he told them he had locked it in his office Sept. 7. When the city went to have the cell phone retrieved, they couldn't find it.

The chief allegedly said someone broke into his office and stole the phone. However, the mayor says surveillance video from a post office in Everett shows Chief Campanello mailing a package to his attorney that contained the cell phone -- which had been erased.

He told investigators he had no idea how the cell phone had been mailed to his attorney.

Mayor Theken said the chief will have an appeal in hearing, in which he can contest the allegations and his termination.

FOX25 Live Stream

WATCH LIVE: Gloucester mayor speaking about investigation, termination of police chief. http://fox25.com/2dN0pCC

Posted by Boston 25 News on Monday, October 3, 2016
FOX25 Live Stream

WATCH LIVE: Gloucester police chief's attorney says he has been fired, claims 'wrongful termination.' http://fox25.com/2dN0pCC

Posted by Boston 25 News on Monday, October 3, 2016