Madison man gets special probation in clash with cop

By Amanda Pinto Register Staff

MADISON - The school board member charged with interfering with an officer and resisting arrest in an incident that allegedly injured a town cop was granted accelerated rehabilitation Thursday, more than six months after he was denied the form of special probation.

Bill Clorite's record will be cleared if he is not arrested in the next two years. His lawyer successfully argued that the court should again hear his case for accelerated rehabilitation because of new information related to the officer's injury.

John Keefe argued Thursday that the January A.R. denial was issued, in part, because of the alleged seriousness of Lt. Allen Gerard's injury. Gerard had shoulder surgery as a result of pulling a baseball bat from Clorite's hand just before Clorite's arrest Aug. 27, 2008.

In May, Gerard acknowledged he competed in dirt bike events on Sept. 14 and Sept. 20, 2008, while injured and receiving workers' compensation.

"It's unlikely if he had tendons torn at that time, he would have been involved in such a dangerous sport ... and I think if the court was aware he was involved in these types of things within three weeks of this 'serious' incident that they would have had a different A.R. ruling," Keefe said Thursday.

Gerard has previously said he did nothing improper by participating in the competition. He said he rode as a way for him to enjoy time with his children - all riders - before undergoing what he knew would be debilitating shoulder surgery Sept. 30.

At the time of the races, he said all medical tests were completed and documented regarding workers' compensation, and Gerard was under no restrictions.

Gerard has since returned to full duty, a fact Keefe said he noted in court. No one from the town appeared in court to contest accelerated rehabilitation Thursday.

Gerard submitted a letter to Superior Court Judge Philip Scarpellino asking that Clorite not be granted the special form of probation.

"I feel that (Clorite's) total lack of remorse is an indication that he will likely be a repeat offender if circumstances dictate. The fact that I have adequately recovered from my injury to the extent that I'm back working full-duty status should not negate the seriousness of (Clorite's) conduct," Gerard wrote in the letter.

The letter also noted Gerard provided the court with 13 minutes of audio recordings of the incident before Clorite's arrest, after officers responded to a 911 call for assistance.

"The facts of the case are that we attempted to reason with (Clorite) for over an hour to avoid any physical confrontation," Gerard said Thursday. "He chose to grab a baseball bat as a weapon, which posed a serious threat of physical injury to everyone present."

Gerard said he accepts the court's decision and appreciates that Clorite "received the maximum amount of probation time" allowed under the terms of accelerated rehabilitation. He also noted that the case was not nolled, and Clorite was not acquitted, both indicators the case had merit.

Keefe's argument for accelerated rehabilitation came after the initial denial in January, at which time Clorite was represented by Enzo Pellegrino.

Scarpellino, the same judge who issued that denial, granted A.R. on Thursday.

Clorite deferred all comment to Keefe, who said his client was pleased with the result of the case.

A civil case, in which Gerard is seeking an unspecified sum for lost wages, pain and suffering from Clorite - a suit that, if won, could reimburse the town for more than $70,000 incurred because of Gerard's injury - is pending.

Amanda Pinto can be reached at apinto@nhregister.com or 789-5734.