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August 10, 2013

Three Haverhill cops await civil service rulings

One fights firing; two others want suspensions reversed

HAVERHILL — Three Haverhill police officers are awaiting decisions from the state Civil Service Commission on their appeals of punishment by the city, which included one officer being fired and the others being suspended without pay.

The appeals involve two separate cases of alleged misconduct by the officers.

Officer Victor “Manny” Pellot was fired last month after being charged criminally with stalking and harassing his estranged wife and her boyfriend. He is also charged with misusing police resources and databases to search the boyfriend’s background.

Mayor James Fiorentini’s decision to fire Pellot followed a local Civil Service hearing that concluded earlier this summer on police Chief Alan DeNaro’s recommendation to terminate the officer’s employment.

DeNaro’s recommendation was the result of an internal Haverhill police investigation triggered by Pellot’s Feb. 27 arrest by state police on criminal stalking and threatening charges. The charges stem from an incident in which Pellot allegedly chased his wife, Doreena, and her boyfriend, Thomas Ratte of Merrimack, N.H., through Haverhill in his personal vehicle, confronting them at one point, and then continuing the chase on Interstate 495.

A report by City Solicitor William Cox, who served as hearing officer in the case, documents four instances in which Pellot aggressively confronted his wife and Ratte, including one in which he threatened to kill Doreena Pellot.

Pellot has pleaded not guilty to two counts of stalking and the criminal case is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Pellot appealed the mayor’s decision to fire him to the Civil Service Commission. Cox said a hearing is scheduled Tuesday to set a date for Pellot’s appeal, which will take place at the commission’s Boston office. Neither the patrolman’s union nor Pellot’s union lawyer, Stephen Pfaff of Boston, have responded to requests for comment.

In the other cases, the Civil Service Commission last month upheld the city’s decision to suspend Lt. William Leeman and patrolman Christopher Pagliuca without pay for their handling of a March 30, 2012, incident in which a retired state trooper crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a utility pole on Route 113 in West Newbury, snapping it in half and cutting power to the surrounding area for almost 11 hours. Pagliuca was suspended for five days and Leeman for 10 days.

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