Cop resigns after allegedly sending nude selfies to DUI suspect
A Pennsylvania cop resigned after a woman he charged with drunken driving said he sent her nude photos of himself — including one apparently taken in a police locker room while only wearing an earpiece.
Ohio Township Police Officer Dominic DeJulio resigned on Friday, effective immediately, according to a letter obtained by The Post signed by Police Chief Norbert Micklos.
DeJulio, 30, had been suspended for five days without pay and was ordered to undergo psychological evaluations for sending the explicit photos after stopping Michelle Benninger, 40, at a sobriety checkpoint in Emsworth last August, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
But DeJulio, who started working for the department full-time in early 2015, later returned to work and wasn’t prosecuted because Benninger didn’t want to pursue criminal charges against him.
“Some little girl at 18 would be scared out of her mind,” Benninger told the newspaper. “She wouldn’t know what to do. I’m 40. I can handle it.”
Drunken driving charges against Benninger — whose blood-alcohol content was 0.117 when DeJulio stopped her on Aug. 25, above the state’s legal driving limit of 0.08 — were dropped Thursday to protect her from having to face the officer again at her trial, according to a spokesman for Allegheny County prosecutors.
“It’s not about his credibility, so we’re not concerned about any of his cases moving forward,” spokesman Mike Manko told the newspaper prior to DeJulio’s resignation.
Benninger said DeJulio sent her at least six sexually explicit images of himself over the span of several days after her preliminary court hearing on Oct. 19. The images, she said, showed his erection while completely nude, including one in which he apparently was standing in a police locker room wearing only an earpiece.
“It was very upsetting and frustrating,” Benninger told the newspaper. “It was just disgusting.”
After waiving her preliminary hearing, Benninger said DeJulio told her while escorting her to her car on Oct. 19 that he had “drunk texted” days earlier. Benninger said she didn’t get the text, prompting DeJulio to smile and tap a folder he was carrying, leading her to believe that the officer had obtained her new phone number.
Two weeks later, Benninger said she was driving to work when she got a text message from an unfamiliar contact saying hello. She replied asking who was writing her, leading DeJulio to identify himself and ask what she was doing at the time. Benninger replied that she was headed to work, she later recalled to the newspaper. DeJulio, she said, then told her he was bored before sending her a photograph of himself naked in a locker room.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Benninger told the newspaper.
Micklos did not return a message seeking comment on Friday, but he told the Post-Gazette in an interview prior to DeJulio’s resignation that he had “no concerns” regarding the officer.
“We addressed it, and hopefully, that’s the end of it,” Micklos said Thursday.
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