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OHIO, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Authorities say a Pennsylvania police officer has resigned after sending sexually explicit pictures to a woman he had charged with drunken driving, leading to his suspension and the woman’s case being withdrawn.
Allegheny County prosecutors say Ohio Township Police Officer Dominic DeJulio, 30, was also required to undergo a series of psychological evaluations. But he wasn’t prosecuted because the 40-year-old woman said she did not want to pursue criminal charges against him.
DeJulio is now off the job. According to Ohio Township Police Chief Norbert Micklos, Officer DeJulio handed in his resignation on Friday, which is effective immediately.
The resignation stems from pictures sent to 40-year-old Michelle Benninger of Monroeville.
“The pictures were horrible, totally nude pictures coming from a police officer who arrested a woman on a DUI,” said Pat Thomassey, Benninger’s attorney.
This story began to unfold on Ohio River Boulevard in Emsworth. It was last August and Ohio Township Police were working a sobriety checkpoint.
When Benninger was stopped, her blood alcohol was .117, over the legal limit to drive in Pennsylvania. A few days after her preliminary hearing in October, she says DeJulio began sending the photos.
Benninger told KDKA-TV News, “What kind of cop takes a number out of someone’s file, and then starts sending them disgusting naked pictures [of themselves], there’s no other word for it.”
She contacted her attorney, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Investigative Unit and the ACLU.
Benninger decided if the matter was handled by Ohio Township Police, she would not pursue criminal charges.
“To her credit, she doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s life. I think she understood the significance of what he did legally, it was just the effect on her. She wanted the case to go away, the DUI,” Thomassey said.
The DUI case against Benninger was dropped on Thursday. Initially, DeJulio was suspended for five days without pay and then was back on the job, but he has now resigned.
Benninger described the initial suspension as a joke.
“They should have fired him anyway, and not given him a choice to resign,” she said.
DeJulio had worked for the Ohio Township Police Department full-time since February 2015.
“I don’t think it’s over for me,” said Benninger. “When someone loses their job, you never know what they are thinking.”
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