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Two police officers sentenced for harassing North Brunswick cop

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BY KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

NEW BRUNSWICK — Superior Court Judge Joseph Paone handed fines to two of the four Edison police officers who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges for their involvement in harassing and humiliating a North Brunswick police officer in 2012.

Brian Favretto, of Brick, and William H. Gesell, of Edison, were ordered to pay $325 in fines for the disorderly conduct charges at a sentencing hearing on Friday, Jan. 13, in Superior Court New Brunswick.

Through plea agreements in September, four officers who were charged agreed to forfeit their employment as police officers and will not be able to hold any other public office position in the future in New Jersey.

On Oct. 24, 2014, a Middlesex County grand jury indicted Favretto, Gesell, Victor Aravena and Michael Dotro with conspiracy and official misconduct. The indictment included 11 counts.

Between Jan. 18, 2012, and May 1, 2012, the officers planned to retaliate against the North Brunswick officer by improperly accessing information about him and performing surveillance of him and his travel habits, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

In addition, Gesell was charged with unlawfully accessing a police computer system, along with a related count of official misconduct for seeking information on the North Brunswick officer.

An investigation by the prosecutor determined that the retaliation was planned after the North Brunswick police officer arrested an associate of Dotro on a charge of driving while intoxicated. Dotro subsequently conspired with his three fellow police officers to retaliate against the North Brunswick officer, according to authorities. No actual retaliation was undertaken, however.

Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley said Aravena, of Edison, who pleaded guilty to a count of obstruction of the administration of law, will be sentenced at another date.

Dotro, of Manalapan, who pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy, is expected to be sentenced at 9 a.m. on Jan. 20.

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